Letters from Rail for the Valley folk

Two letters from people who support, Rail for the Valley and improving transit South of the Fraser

Users and taxpayers lose with regional transit plan

Delta Optimist

June 29, 2016

Editor:

The recent $740 million photo-op with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his protégé for the next federal election, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, and B.C.’s premier, was nothing more than flim-flam to get regional taxpayers to ante up their portion for the very poorly thought out and grossly expensive 10-year plan that will benefit developers more than transit customers.

The two centerpieces of this plan, the Broadway SkyTrain subway and the Surrey LRT, are poorly thought out, expensive, won’t reduce congestion and will force more people to drive.

We have already invested $10 billion of the taxpayer money on rapid transit and mode share by car in the Metro Vancouver region has remained static at 57 per cent for a quarter of a century.

The real winners of the $740 million investment in regional transit:

1. Bombardier Inc., which will get $345 million for new West Coast Express cars and proprietary ART cars (SkyTrain).

2. TransLink’s bureaucrats, who will get $157 million so they can continue to “play trains” with the $3 billion Broadway subway and the $2.5 billion for Surrey’s poor man’s SkyTrain.

3. Land developers, who will get relaxed zoning at proposed rapid transit stations.

The big losers:

1. The transit customer, who will suffer more incompetent planning and not one new bus for south of the Fraser River was included.

2. The taxpayer, who has to pay for this questionable transit planning, for two grossly expensive transit projects that will do little or nothing to ease congestion.

I had hoped Trudeau would usher in a new era of fiscal prudence, but he has just telegraphed the federal Liberals are open for business, especially for Bombardier Inc., as they were a decade ago.

The Liberals have learned nothing and forgotten nothing, leaving the taxpayer vulnerable to their political excesses.

D. Malcolm Johnston

And
Hon Mayor Gaetz,
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In response to your June 20 email to Myrtle Macdonald, I would like to point out that I have read the report issued by the FVRD on the first year of the FVX, which was glowing, except for one caveat. They pointed out that scheduling is an issue, due of course to the fact that those buses are required to use the terrible freeway section from just past Langley to Chilliwack.  The very fact that the ridership is 4x greater than expected points to the fact that the population and needs of Chilliwack residents are changing.  People are moving by the hundreds from points west because it’s still affordable to live here and it is beautiful.  But they still have connections to the west in the form of jobs, family and friends and their pleasure living here will quickly sour when they realize they are spending 3 or more hours on the road every day.
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I have been supportive of the Rail for the Valley organization for many years but have become quite passionate about it since the summer of 2014 when my daughter Tracy, and son in law Randy moved back here from Edmonton.  They bought a beautiful townhouse on Promontory and they love it.  However, Tracy works for Canada Revenue Services and her only two options were Surrey or Vancouver.  She picked Surrey of course, but only after trying to get a job here that pays as well, and now is one of those spending a good portion of her waking hours on that freeway.  She would love to take public transit, but the FVX does not work for her so she has no other option but to drive.
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The rail line that could make life so much easier for folks like her already exists! Despite the fact that the West Coast Express is very successful from a ridership perspective, CP charges an exorbitant fee for the use of their tracks.  The rail line on this side is owned by us and it’s mandate is passengers.  There would be no rental fee. I simply cannot understand why every Mayor and Council from Chilliwack to Surrey is not supportive of or fighting for the return to use of this line.  Perhaps you could explain why to me.
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 Thank you.
Barb Lock

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