Chilliwack Progress – Light rail offers economic solution

Light rail offers economic solution

Published: October 25, 2010 6:00 PM

It should be noted that Chilliwack’s public transit is utilized by about one per cent of residents. We don’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 doesn’t add, though, is that the type of rail being proposed is defined as ‘community rail,’ 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 isn’t exactly advertising all the costs of it, they’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 it’s true.

William Chambers

via Chilliwack Progress – Light rail offers economic solution.

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Comments

One Response to “Chilliwack Progress – Light rail offers economic solution”
  1. Bryan Vogler says:

    There seems to be people out there that express remarks against Translink. The Consortium has handed a proposal that is waiting to be approved at the federal level. Bombardier has come up with a new model of commuter rail car that Toronto bought into. The Seattle Sounder and Los Angles metrolink with identical cars have shown a positive to have there systems refitted too. Canadian jobs for th rail industry is a must in the passenger sector or it will all disolve.
    VIA RAIL in the west has decreased over milage over 800,000 miles by abandoning the E&N on Vancouver Island and cutting one cross country train in the winter. Be it Translink, Toronto Metro or VIA its all passenger rail milage in Canada. Canada is written on the side of every car as a federal contributor that owns VIA RAIL. There are no tax deductions for decreased milage, yet Via blames its owner, The federal Minister of Transport for not enough funding. The business bias here were all in the same bed because the Minister appoints the head of Via Rail.
    Translink made the same mistake C.N. and C.P. did when they could not get enough subsidy money from the government and would not fund it with freight revenue. The government could have shut down passenger service for good and no benefit to the taxpayer at all in a reduced income tax. Translink could be shut down by the province as it is a regional transit carrier in three different subsidiaries. The West Coast Express would survive because it has a federal operator and maintenance contract. The difference is shared costs on a daily bases.
    Skytrain and The Canada line are financed with Provincial guarantees, The Express runs on federal track like VIa. The new proposal is call Twining the Fraser Valley with Commuter Rail. The route is from Lougheed Mall with a stop at Guilford and 200th street area. It follows the north side of the freeway where it can connect to the Interurban tracks at Glover Road and run to Abbotsford. Abbotsford is close enough to Mission to say complete for now. The Chilliwack area is growing at 30% a year above estimates 10 years ago and there is no doubt the freeway will be widened in the future. The choice for Chilliwack now is do you want the line between Abbotsford and Chilliwack to connect at Abbotsford. The federal government has not refused the proposal and Translink is leaning toward a positive. The B.C Government has not been approached as M.L.A.”s are resigning everyday.
    The freeway was picked because it is a federal-provincial cost sharing route and like the railways is inter-provincial in stature. Commuter Rail fits like a glove and bombardier has one hot HIgh speed train and countries are buying into it. This proposal like The West Coast Express on is tough to turn down and the federal Minister of Transport has money for funding. B.C is using Bill 3 until 2013-14, which covered the freeway construction and rail over the new Pt. Mann bridge. We are on the dime here. The federal government just opened a new rail experimental and exploration facility at the University of Alberta. We look forward to progress on passenger rail, because its all been backed by North American railways except for Via Rail which is now a conflict of interest.
    That means city rail passenger infrastructure is on the front burner. That means Edmonton-Calgary commuter rail or high speed is our competition. Its very exciting to watch the governments squeeze and squirm and test the public will.