Editorial: Optimism for Island rail corridor as 2019 begins

There is no doubt the price tag for the project has risen significantly.

Will 2019 finally be the year we see some moves to get the Island Corridor railway back up and running?

The year is certainly starting out with some optimism on that front.

In December a meeting took place with all of the local government stakeholders along the rail line, with the province at the table. The Island Corridor Foundation and the local governments have long been ready to take action to upgrade the tracks enough to be able to get the trains running again.

But there has been a notable lack of interest from the federal and provincial governments, who, at one time, had looked as if they were going to come through with a portion of the funding. It became a game of who was going to actually step up with the dollars first, with each insisting they’d come on board after this was done, or that was done, or the other was ready to commit. It all resulted in stalling the entire project.

Since then, the rail line has continued to deteriorate. There is no doubt the price tag for the project has risen significantly. Indeed, in 2017 the ICF presented a $42.7-million plan to the provincial government that would see the Nanaimo to Victoria section of the line upgraded. We’d venture to say that the bill to upgrade the railroad enough to make it a going concern is likely a lot more than that.

But we believe the project is still well worth it. This is something on which it is necessary to take the long view. As the population of the Island continues to grow and age, we need more public transportation options, and having the rail right-of-way up the Island’s spine is a huge luxury we’d be foolish to squander. Other areas of the world are investing heavily in trains as they look to the future of getting people from here to there, and we are far behind in this regard.

It is heartening that the provincial government is cooperating with the ICF to take the first step: getting an assessment of the condition of the tracks and bridges on the line. Let’s get this train going.

Just Posted

Transport truck driver identified as one victim in double fatal head-on crash

Clifford Bishop, 54, a resident of Cassidy, had been a truck driver since he was 18

Volunteers needed for Sunday’s Festival of Lights takedown

Volunteers asked to meet at the 49th Parallel Grocery upper parking lot at 9 a.m.

Editorial: Need to look at more than just emergency Malahat bypass

We favour options that offer regular alternatives, not just a crash bypass.

Weather takes wind out of the sails of Ladysmith’s first fun sail

Lack of wind made it hard to complete first Ladysmith Maritime Society fun sail of the year

UK lawmakers reject Brexit deal in 432-202 vote

House of Commons votes against the deal struck between Britain’s government and the EU

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Investigating change to B.C.’s licence and quota system

MP Ken Hardie hears from fish harvesters how corporations are favoured under current regime

Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Property owners have to register to avoid vacant-home tax

New orca calf in Salish Sea ‘healthy and active’

Birth cause for celebration but things still dire genetically, expert says

UPDATE: One person confirmed dead in Port Alberni motor vehicle accident

Rural residential road remains closed as RCMP, coroner investigate

Good Samaritan rescues cat found in heaps of garbage at B.C. landfill

The cat was abandoned and left to die at the Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill, the BC SPCA says

Nanaimo council supports borrowing $4.6M for Port Theatre expansion

City councillors pass first three readings of borrowing bylaw

Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna home to Canada’s most expensive rentals: report

According to PadMapper, units in larger B.C. cities cost $1,300 to more than $3,000

Most Read