Opinion

EDITORIAL: Transportation review needed

It was the summer of 2000.

The future of the Mill Bay ferry was being called into question and the push was on to switch the E&N rail line over to commuter service.

And a semi-trailer hauling fuel jack-knifed on the Malahat Drive, cutting off Victoria from the rest of the Island for 20 hours and raising serious questions about our transportation corridor.

More than a decade later, very little seems to have changed.

There remains only one reasonable option for most up-Island commuters headed into the capital.

It’s called the highway, and, as the fuel truck spill near Goldstream Provincial Park April 16 proved yet again, that option is vulnerable.

On the plus side, upgrades have transformed the Pacific Rim Circle Route from a pioneer cart trail into a reasonable backroad connector.

And some efforts have been made to increase communication and improve automobile safety on the Malahat itself.

But the next two most reasonable options are under siege.

Mill Bay ferry service has exhausted a reprieve granted a decade ago and the E&N rail line is 10 years older and 10 years worse for wear.

On the heels of the Goldstream truck crash, the provincial government announced a review of the reaction to the closure.

That review should look closely at alternate routes.

The ferry and the rail line aren’t the solution to an event of that magnitude, but they are assets that can easily be turned into better assets with the right investment.

Eliminating any options altogether certainly seems reckless at best.

 

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