The NDP Are paving Paradise And Turning It Into A Parking Lot – Part 2

Reinstating passenger services on regional railways, it is what government should be doing, to deal with traffic congestion and pollution, but they are not, as government would rather spend money on prestigious “rapid transit” monuments to cut for photo-ops at election time.

The E&N, the RftV TramTain from Vancouver to Chilliwack; and the Okanagan corridor from Salmon Arm to Kelowna are all candidates for regional passenger rail.

The former BC Rail line to Prince George and beyond should also have passenger rail service reinstated.

Government refuses and instead, invests billions of dollars on a glitzy mass transit system, which have proven in the past not very good in attracting the motorist from the car, nor will it be, at a cost of over $200 million/km to build!

With the current $4.6 billion investment to extend the light-metro system a mere 12.8 km, brings the total of direct taxpayer investment in the light-metro system to over $15 billion, yet mode share for transit is dropping in the region.

Mode share for the GVRD in 2017. Despite over $15 billion in investment on the SkyTrain light-metro system, mode share for transit is slowly decreasing.

The rails to trails lobby, abetted by the various cycle lobbies, who have attached themselves to both major provincial parties, have become selfish, self-absorbed anti-rail cynics and, have done everything they can to thwart any sort of modern use on rail corridors.

The refusal of government to deal with 21st century transit and transportation issues, with 21st century transit solutions and instead rely on obsolete transit solutions born in the 60’s and 70’s only demonstrates how ossified government and the bureaucracy have become.

With no tangible improvement in the future, except greatly increased congestion on highways, more pollution and ever higher taxes to pay for governments grand mistakes. Using existing railways or former rail routes to provide a cost effective rail transport only makes sense.

Global warming is only a theme, which the current government has paid lip service too as they pander to environmental groups but in the end are not serious.

Government at all levels, do not care!

As stated before in a previous post:

The NDP are paving paradise and turning it into a parking lot.

A French regional rail service has boosted tourism in areas it serves.

How passenger rail is integral to our environmental goals and can help fight climate change

February 16, 2021

By Patrick Carnahan, Co-Executive Director, All Aboard Washington and Tim Gould, Transportation & Land Use Committee Chair, Sierra Club Washington

Rail is the only form of mechanized ground transportation that does not contribute to tire-related massive salmon die-off.  Yet, news of University of Washington research on tire dust toxicity to coho salmon coincides with the state virtually freezing intercity passenger train service. The toxic effects to salmon, caused by a compound in rubber tire dust that runs off roadways into streams, do not occur with steel-wheeled trains.   How frustrating that the energy efficiency advantage of steel wheels on rail, and the mobility access provided by the rail network are ignored as solutions to pressing environmental and transportation challenges.

Amtrak Cascades has connected the Vancouver-Seattle-Portland corridor since 1995, offering a green travel alternative to I-5. Cascades handled over 800,000 annual riders in 2018 and 2019. However, in response to the pandemic, service has been curtailed to only one train per day. Worse yet, due to an equipment shortage, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) does not envision a full return of service for up to five years. Our best hope for a sustainable, equitable transportation network is being terribly neglected at this critical moment in the fight against climate change.

Passenger trains can make a difference in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during the next decade, the critical time to avoid climate change tipping points. WSDOT has had plans since 2006 to improve and expand service. Hourly train trips between Portland and Seattle would divert three million people annually from aircraft and highways to curtail GHG emissions. However, this plan has been neglected and is not even available on WSDOT’s website (find it on All Aboard Washington’s [AAWA’s] website).

Time is of the essence.  Within a decade, we need to leverage the sustainable transportation alternative we already have: Amtrak Cascades. AAWA and Sierra Club recognize the pandemic-induced budget limitations that the Legislature faces.  Yet, the state’s economic recovery and environmental goals can be advanced using existing rail infrastructure to restart and enhance Amtrak Cascades service.

To fight for our salmon and climate today, five Cascades projects are needed:

  1. Restore North Sound Service

Cascades train service north of Seattle has been discontinued during the pandemic due to the Canadian border closure, eliminating twice-daily round-trips that serve Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon, and Bellingham. WSDOT should restore North Sound service, and extend it to Vancouver when the border re-opens.

  1. Complete the Cascades Long Range Plan (LRP)

Realizing the vision presented by the 2006 Cascades LRP will be critical in our efforts to combat climate change. An update this year to the LRP will position the Cascades to seek federal grant money, implement shovel-ready projects, and acquire new train equipment with sufficient funding.

  1. Secure Stable Funding

Rail needs consistent, robust funding in order to become our accessible, equitable, and climate-friendly transportation backbone. Let’s support creative revenue sources such as land value recapture and county rail districts.

  1. Strengthen Local, Regional, and Federal Partnerships

Cascades service, supported by Oregon and Washington, can be more successful with closer cooperation between the states, the province of British Columbia, and stakeholders. Streamlined governance relationships, regional rail commissions, and rail advisory committees can facilitate better cooperation.

  1. Expand Service Statewide

Washington’s commitment to equitable, sustainable mobility for rural and urban communities across the state requires more intercity rail service to complement other transportation modes.  The Legislature needs to embrace a bold vision of mobility justice with passenger trains serving more of Washington.


Comments

One Response to “The NDP Are paving Paradise And Turning It Into A Parking Lot – Part 2”
  1. For this reason alone, I, my family and many of my friends are no longer NDP supporters. In pursuit of John Horgan and Rob Flemings lust for roads, cars and more fossil fuel tax revenues, they have neglected rail in the greater fraser valley and on Vancouver Island. The NDPs commitment to reducing GHGs is non-existent. According to the latest budgets, BC residents are creating more GHGs than at any time. Time to take action. Switch to Liberal or Greens if they express support for rail. NDP = DONE!

    Zwei replies: Sadly, I feel the same. I am even more bitter because the NDP tried to jump on the RftV bandwagon for the 2018 election, but stayed mute since. Promising Skytrain to Langley is such a very bad politcal decision that i must conclude the NDP have no interest in regional transit; have no interest in global warming and are an ecological disaster.

    Zwei is constantly being attacked for what I say, but i am calling it as I see it and the NDP just do not care, do not want to know and only build transit for convenient photo-ops at election time.

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