Chilliwack Progress – Light rail offers economic solution
Light rail offers economic solution
Published: October 25, 2010 6:00 PM
It should be noted that Chilliwackâ€™s public transit is utilized by about one per cent of residents. We donâ€™t need studies to tell us the reason for that is our bus service is terrible. The mayor has pointed out that most vehicle traffic stays within town. What she doesnâ€™t add, though, is that the type of rail being proposed is defined as â€˜community rail,â€™ designed exactly to that purpose. It is politicians who mistakenly label it a commuter system. The fact that it can also be used for traveling to other communities is what makes it so advantageous. It is only with a practical service like this that we will get the ridership on local public transit that we need. A 20 minute trip from Yarrow to Downtown Chilliwack, for example, would take only 11 minutes by train. The recent Quality of Life poll showed only 23 per cent of Chilliwack residents are satisfied with existing public transit.
The mayor mentioned the cost of a new rail system, but has left out that the province has proposed as an alternative a rapidbus system which will cost a great deal more to build and maintain. Most people, including Chilliwack council, are totally unaware of this fact. The province isnâ€™t exactly advertising all the costs of it, theyâ€™ve implied it will be cheaper.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Regardless of what system is built, Victoria and Ottawa will share in a cost partnership with municipalities. (The type of rail crossings needed will in fact cost about $50,000.) Simply throwing money at our broken bus system by adding more buses is not going to work either, and it is sign of poor fiscal planning.
If Chilliwack council fails to move toward light rail like most of our other neighbours are doing, you the taxpayer will pay the price for it. The greatest myth to be corrected is that rail service will cost more. It costs less. Research yourself and you will find itâ€™s true.