Megg’s Puppet, Horgan Kills LRT On Vancouver Island

What was turning out to be a breathe of fresh air in BC politics, Premier Horgan and his puppet master, former Vision(less) Vancouver Councillor and now Horgan’s chief advisor, Geoff Meggs, have killed the idea for LRT on the E&N and you can damn well bet  the same is true about the Rail for the Valley project.

Horgan was desperate before the election for a transportation solution for the Fraser Valley, but once elected all that has vanished.

Horgan’s Chief of Staff, Geoff Meggs is anti LRT and as a former Vision(less) Vancouver Councilor, he learned the fine art of intimidating people wanting light rail; with the premier, it is just Meggs whispering sweet nothings in Horgan’s ear and LRT is dead.

What Meggs is afraid of is that modern LRT could provide a better servcie than the proposed $3 billion subway under Broadway and that proprietary SkyTrain subway is very important as it is the use rapid transit that is causing land speculators and land developers great delight in assembling lands adjacent to rapid transit stations and having Vancouver council up-zone the properties to allow high rise condos for off shore sales.

And why is that?

Simple, it is part of the money laundering process which has enriched local governments,  via casinos and land developments. And  not forgetting of course the criminals that launder the money.

With light rail there is no impetus to build high rise condos and freshly laundered money goes elsewhere to further cleanse it of criminal activity.

SkyTrain is indeed the money train.

Light rail operating in BC would give an “apples to apples” comparison with the now obsolete and expensive SkyTrain proprietary light-metro and a tram-train version, with costs around $10 million/km, would certainly look good when compared to a $500 million/km plus subway under Broadway.

This is why Surrey’s LRT is so heavily gold-plated, as it is being built to fail!

Meggs could not stand for successful LRT and told Horgan not to stand for it either.

Sadly, the NDP have very short memories, as almost the same thing happened with former Premier Glenn Clark and Joy McPhail, with the former Broadway-Lougheed light rail project, which after inducements from Bombardier and SNC Lavalin, flip-flopped from LRT to SkyTrain. To many people were burned by this and sat out the next election, leaving the NDP with a two seat rump in 2001.

History is again repeating itself.

A Tram Train solution would be a perfect solution for the E&N, a real winner. Sadly the NDP back losers.

 

Les Leyne: Horgan puts brakes on light rail for E&N

Les Leyne / Times Colonist May 16, 2018

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Premier John Horgan not only dashed the hopes of light-rail transit fans in the capital region on Tuesday, he got a nice round of applause for doing so.

Addressing the 400-member massed forces of all the local chambers of commerce, Horgan parked the light-rail dream in short order.

“The business case doesn’t seem to be there.”

He signalled his government is vastly more interested in bus lanes. Watch for plans to extend them much farther than the construction that’s already underway.

It’s a bit of an about-face. The NDP in opposition made some polite remarks over the years about the potential for rapid transit on the abandoned E&N Railway line. It came with the job of nagging government to do more of everything when it came to transportation. But dithering over that potential has occupied dreamers for years.

Now that they’re in power, Horgan said, he has been talking to leaders about using the corridor for its purpose, “which is not necessarily a train, but moving people from the west into the city and back again.”

Referring to the never-ending talk of light rail, he said: “I’m not prepared to wait any longer. We shouldn’t have a corridor like that designated for just growing Scotch broom.”

The ramshackle Dayliner passenger service that formerly used the line was mothballed seven years ago, and the rail line has been rotting ever since, while a bustling bike path occupies part of the right-of-way.

Horgan wasn’t specific, but insisted the corridor should be used to move people. “I’m committed to doing that, and that will happen.”

People are wasting time in congestion, and Horgan said his government is keen to build a transportation plan for the south Island.

Bus lanes are an “immediate and efficient” solution to gridlock.

It went over well with the crowd packed into Crystal Garden.

But the elephant in the room was the employer health tax. Business leaders have concentrated attention on the downside of eliminating Medical Services Plan premiums ever since the move was made in the February budget.

Its partial replacement is a phased-in payroll tax that imposes new costs on employers, particularly those that didn’t cover employees’ MSP premiums.

And those who do will sustain a double hit next year, paying one more year of their workers’ premiums in addition to the new tax.

Horgan reminded them that he campaigned against the MSP, although the replacement came to light only in the budget. “We said were going to do it and we are doing it.”

He said he knows the replacement is a significant concern. “We understand. We feel your pain.”

He pointed to upcoming cuts to the sales tax on electricity bills as a partial offset.

But the first question after his speech was a plea to reassess the impact of the tax, given how it hits municipal employers, as well, and that impact compounds on business property taxes.

To paraphrase, the answer was: No.

The Finance Ministry is scrambling to soften the impact on some sectors, such as non-profits and school districts. But municipalities and businesses aren’t on the list and won’t be any time soon.

Horgan said the property-tax impact of municipalities passing their tax costs on to property owners is “infinitesimal” compared to the savings for individuals (assuming their premiums weren’t covered by their employers).

Horgan said the NDP’s payroll tax will be the lowest in the country, is being phased in, and makes B.C. the last place in Canada to abandon the flat-rate premiums.

“This is what rest of the country is doing. This is catching up to the rest of the country.”

It wasn’t what they wanted to hear, but Horgan held his own, overall.

The antipathy over the tax is partly offset by the sheer novelty of having a premier from the capital, with a select handful of cabinet misters from the ’hood as well.

The crowd is counting on a bump in provincial spending locally as an offshoot of that representation.

If Horgan can hold the employer health tax anger to a simmer, rather than a boil, he can count that as a win.

© Copyright Times Colonist

Comments

4 Responses to “Megg’s Puppet, Horgan Kills LRT On Vancouver Island”
  1. Mark says:

    Skytrain is not the money train. The E&N is not abandoned, VIA rail wants to restore service. An LRT on a portion of the line would completent it nicely. The railline needs upgrades to the elderly track. VIA rail to Courtenay was a scenic train ride.

  2. Mark says:

    You are right about Meggs being Horgan’s puppet.

  3. Causa causans says:

    The NDP have never been strong on transit issues.

    Glen Clark and Joy MacPhail were all about union jobs with the Millennium Line and flipped LRT for SkyTrain with the promise of thousands of SkyTrain cars built in BC for export to China.

    Never happened. Now the very same Joy MacPhail is trying to tax motorists out of their cars and onto a non existent transit system, with road pricing.

    I wonder how much she is being paid for this?

    Meggs advising Horgan was a colossal mistake and his true colors are showing. To hell with everyone else, Vancouver wants a subway.

    With great sadness, I think Weaver will get my vote next time around as he seems the best of a bad lot.

    The NDP are not my party, not even close.

  4. Steve Cooley says:

    It was a short sighted decision to delete the rail portion from Victoria’s new bridge. Penny wise, pound foolish.

    Upgrading the E & N to provide commuter service South of the Malahat is what is called a ‘No Brainer’. The route of the rail bed is not the best for today’s population distribution, but it is a dedicated right of way that is not being utilized now. A transfer to a bus at the bridge is another disincentive, but I am sure that when it is put into service and kept in service, a clientele will develop.

    Dedicated bus lanes on the side of the existing highway will be easy to build, after astronomical amounts of money are spent in expropriating the necessary road right of way and building ‘flyovers’ for the major intersections between city centre and the suburbs it will service

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