Chilliwack Progress – Regional transportation needs ‘holistic’ approach

Regional transportation needs ‘holistic’ approach

By Katie Bartel – Chilliwack Progress

Published: September 24, 2010 1:00 PM

Updated: September 24, 2010 1:38 PM

As much as a light rail service could benefit the Fraser Valley, it’s not the be all end all solution for connecting communities, says the president of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce.

“Getting rail for the valley is not going to solve everyone’s problems, it’s not going to be the silver bullet solution,” says Jason Lum, president of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce.

Lum was responding to a report released earlier this week by U.K. based consultant David Cockle, on behalf of Rail for the Valley, which promoted the feasibility of a light rail line from Chilliwack to Surrey.

Lum hadn’t seen the report, but had read an article on it.

While he agrees that better transportation options are needed A?ai??i??ai??? an issue chambers of commerce throughout the Fraser Valley have been pushing for A?ai??i??ai??? he says communities would be better served with a combination of options that would include things like commuter buses or rapid transit buses connecting the various cities as well as light rail.

“The Chambers’ message to all levels of government has been that it’s time for some action,” says Lum. “We know what the challenges are with funding, but it’s time to have an action oriented plan, to have results for better transportation linking the communities.

“Adding more single passenger vehicles onto the road is not the solution,” says Lum. “We as a society have to make a shift away from our reliance on cars as a principle means of transportation.”

Lum says a holistic approach needs to be taken, that communities south of the Fraser need to work together to implement a transportation plan that would work for all communities involved. He’d like to see a task force set up that has politicians and key stakeholders working together for better transportation.

But, he notes, it all comes down to money and what taxpayers are willing to pay for.

“People need to understand the true cost of the infrastructure they use,” he says. “This isn’t a popular option … but tolling and road pricing has shown to be an effective way of illuminating the costs of infrastructure … but again, it’s a decision that taxpayers need to make. Do they want to pay [higher taxes] or continue to drive around in their cars?”

via Chilliwack Progress – Regional transportation needs ‘holistic’ approach.

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