All transportation is subsidized

NANAIMO: Re: Dream of passenger rail not viable, Letters, Oct. 18.

To the Editor,

Re: Dream of passenger rail not viable, Letters, Oct. 18.

J. Sharpe complains about the Island Corridor Foundation’s request to municipalities (its members) to help put the railway back into full service, since both the province and the federal governments have promised (but not yet delivered) funding assistance to the railway.

He calls this a “never-ending pit for taxpayer dollars.”

Sharpe seems unaware of, or happy about, the fact that all transportation modalities are subsidized, except for rail, in most of our country.

The city roads he travels on are entirely paid for by taxpayers, amounting to more than one-third of our property taxes every year. The food he eats likely enjoys subsidies to B.C. Ferries by taxpayers every year. Same deal for the local airport, every year. Such is the cost of having a modern transportation system.

Of all the Western industrialized countries, only Canada is tearing up tracks, calling bridge, highway, airport, ship and ferry terminal building “investments” but funding to railways are instead named “subsidies.”

Even developing countries are adding rail transport (at taxpayers’ expense). Why? Because rail is more efficient.

As long as taxpayers continue to subsidize car and truck transport every year, rail will suffer.

It’s past time we became intelligent. For the cost of a cup of coffee a year, each of us could contribute to reducing traffic on the highways and create a modern, intermodal system of transportation that will save us a lot more than the existing car-centric system demands.

Ian Gartshore