Smoking Dope In Abby

Really, the mayor of Abbotsford is just another politician which thinks the taxpayer has deep pockets to finance dream projects.

Mayor Braun is completely out of touch about regional transit issues and wants someone else to ante up $8 billion for a rapid transit line which in fact will attract not many people.

The estimated cost to extend the Expo Line from Fleetwood to Langley will be a minimum of $1.6 billion and a rough guesstimate of $7 billion to extend it to Abbotsford. But wait, the Expo line will definitely need a $3 billion rehab to increase capacity, so the cost to extend the MALM proprietary railway to Abbotsford will not be $8 billion, rather closer to $12 billion!

So let that sink in for a while, $12 billion to extend a dated light metro system, that is not at all well designed in the first place and certainly not designed for long haul services, that does not operate in the snow.

A new rapid transit line from Vancouver to Abbotsford, using the Number one hwy, route would cost an astounding $14 billion or more!

Commuter rail is more of a joke because it would be too unwieldy and restricted to the CPR or CNR mainlines.

Rail for the Valley’s Leewood Study, shows the right direction, use the former and existing BC Electric rights-of-way, and provide a regional passenger rail service from downtown Vancouver to Chilliwack, via New Westminster, North Delta/Surrey, Cloverdale, Langley, Abbotsford, Sardis and Chilliwack.

The cost for a 30 minute service per direction would be about $1.5 billion and would offer the right capacity to start with and can economically grow with demand.

The answer seems to simple for tax and spend  politicians to understand; it isn’t an unnaffordable $12 to $14 billion rapid transit line to Abbotsford, rather an affordable $1.5 regional rail line servicing many important destinations from Vancouver , up the Fraser Valley to Chilliwack.

A diesel powwered TramTrain in France, operating on the mainline railway

Borrow $8 billion for Fraser Valley rail link, Abbotsford mayor urges province

Henry Braun urges province to borrow billions to connect Abbotsford & Chilliwack to Metro Vancouver

All Abbotsford’s mayor wants from the provincial government is up to $8 billion for transportation in the Fraser Valley.

That sum sounds like a lot of money because, again, it’s $8 billion. But Mayor Henry Braun told council Monday that he thinks a rapid transit link to Abbotsford is (relatively) affordable and can be done if the province is as ambitious as a pair of legendary British Columbia politicians.

“WAC Bennett and Phil Gaglardi were some people who made some bold moves. I think the present provincial government needs to make some bold moves and one of them would be commuter rail,” Braun said after a council discussion on feedback that Abbotsford will send to TransLink as that body shapes its plans for the next 30 years.

“I do think the day has come for lots of reasons … that it’s perhaps time that the province needs to look at borrowing $7 (billion) to $8 billion – with a B,” he said. “It should come out to Abbotsford and eventually to Chilliwack as well because there are 300,000 people that live east of the Langley border.”

Braun has regularly and repeatedly called for the widening of Highway 1 between Langley and Abbotsford, and the city has listed that project as its top transportation priority. But the province has focused more on rapid transit projects, and in December the premier’s chief of staff, Geoff Meggs, promised to meet with Braun soon to discuss the subject.

Braun said the time is right for a commuter-rail transit link between Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford and Chilliwack. Braun doesn’t believe the existing Interurban freight line through the valley will work, but said the time is right for the province to lay its own tracks out to Abbotsford.

“Interest rates are at historic lows,” he said. “There is good debt and bad debt. That would be a good debt, because that infrastructure would be built to last 100-plus years.”

Braun, who previously ran a rail construction business, said he is confident that the province could borrow such a sum and still maintain its AAA credit rating because B.C.’s debt-to-GDP ratio would still be reasonable.

“As I’ve looked at the numbers, borrowing $7 (billion) to $8 billion is doable and would not push up the provincial debt-to-GDP ratio to the levels where the rating agencies would get exercised. It’s manageable and I think that has to happen.

“The Fraser Valley can solve a lot of problems to the west of us,” he added.

Braun pointed to the lack of available industrial land in Metro Vancouver and repeated Abbotsford’s desire to remove two blocks of farmland from the Agricultural Land Reserve for such purposes.

“You have to develop regional hubs. We have a university and airport … I think we need to get a little more vocal about investing significant funds in this valley.”

 

Comments

2 Responses to “Smoking Dope In Abby”
  1. Haveacow says:

    The mayor of Abbotsford use to run a construction company, he isn’t going to get his widened highway anytime soon, so the next best thing is to follow the provincial example and call for the most expensive rail line he can get. He sees only building new as the answer instead of using existing track and upgrading it or build new sections to it to make it more efficient and minimize capital (construction) costs.

  2. Fraser says:

    Good idea to build commuter rail to Abbotsford. It won’t cost much if it uses existing CN railway. It will not cost $14 billion. The West coast express to mission did not cost that much. This website is the only one smoking the dope.

    Zwei replies: There are many problems with commuter rail. First off, the CNR would probably not entertain commuter rail unless two more tracks were laid which would be very costly with land expropriation, and ALR regulations. With the former BCE route, there is a statutory right to operate a passenger service.

    The other problem, unlike the CPR route, the commuter rail does not pass through many communities and would probably not attract much ridership.

    Finally, there is the Fraser River Rail Bridge and a commuter train would be much longer crossing the bridge than the more nimble DMU.

    Unlike the Leewood RftV plan, which services several major destinations along the way, giving a truly user friendly service.

    Commuter rail would be another expensive disaster, unlike a regional rail service.

    The mayor is blowing smoke.

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