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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Nothing less than modern rail is worth doing

Transportation projects in other areas receive support from province and feds, notes letter writer
Electrified light rail would bring Island transportation into the 21st century, says letter writer. (News Bulletin file photo)

To the editor,

Talk about dithering while Rome burns. There is no question about what should happen with the E&N corridor. Nothing less than double-tracked, electrified, light rail transit is worth doing.

If Island residents consider the cost of various transit proposals on the mainland such as the Skytrain extension in Vancouver and the light rail in the Fraser Valley and the financial support from senior governments that enable these projects, what are we getting? The Island is closing in on 900,000 inhabitants and it won’t be long before we reach one million. In spite of the improvements to the highways, they remain congested, dangerous and too often closed by accidents and weather conditions and will only get worse.

Some of our Island tax dollars are represented in those federal and provincial grants to Lower Mainland transit extensions.

Electrified light rail here on the Island will address traffic congestion, reduce carbon emissions, utilize Site C electricity, address senior government amenity disparities, create jobs and bring Island transportation into the 21st century. The problem is one of failure on the part of elected MLAs, MPs, municipal councils, regional boards and First Nations councils to address the transportation needs of all their Island residents. My advice, don’t vote for anyone who doesn’t support light rail on the E&N corridor. Let’s get it done.

Brian Blood, Lantzville

RELATED: Feds weighing $431-million Vancouver Island Rail Corridor future as deadline looms

To the editor,

I once took the rail from Vancouver all the way to Montreal. We had a state room, too. Nice trip but there was an air conditioning breakdown in the middle of summer midway home. We were bused to the nearest major airport and spent six hours waiting for a plane.

I also lived close to the railway on the Island and I seldom saw anyone on it. The same can be said for the bus service which was an independent company that couldn’t make a go of it.

I really want to know what would make rail profitable? Before you even start the service, the rails would have to be inspected and many would probably have to be replaced. Who would be footing the bill for this? Are they wanting government grants? We all pay for those.

For the first couple of months there would be riders, but just until the novelty wore off. Although it is nice to look out at the scenery for some, most people need to be somewhere as soon as possible. The rail service stopped because it was no longer profitable. Plan and simple: that’s it.

Robin Hulme, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press Media or the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

Letters policy: Letters should be no longer than 250 words and will be edited. Preference is given to letters expressing an opinion on issues of local relevance or responding to items published in the News Bulletin. Include your address (it won’t be published) and a first name or two initials, and a surname. Unsigned letters will not be published. Letters sent to the News Bulletin may also be published in the Ladysmith Chronicle.

Mail: Letters, Nanaimo News Bulletin, 777 Poplar St., Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 2H7

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