To the Editor,
Re: Vancouver Island residents have a say in rail’s future, Guest Comment, Oct. 30.
Like many, I live outside the City of Nanaimo and commute to work there.
I recently read about the completion of the Bowen Road project. A project that was badly needed, indeed I drove and rode my bike to work along that corridor for many years.
There was critical need on that one-kilometre stretch. It has cost around $11 million to widen the road, upgrade services and install a new bridge.
Now, let’s look at the railway, which like Bowen Road, is publicly owned.
The Island Corridor Foundation has asked for $3.2 million with a portion coming from the City of Nanaimo through the Regional District of Nanaimo. This will unlock the $20 million total needed to do critical work rebuilding more than 200 km of railway and dozens of bridges and trestles.
This will enable freight service to continue and grow and pay directly back to the taxpayer. It will also enable Via Rail service to return – which when it ran, saved travel costs for thousands between Nanaimo, Victoria and Courtenay.
Eleven million dollars for 1,500 metres of road and less than $3.2 million for 200 km of railway. It strikes me that the railway is an incredible bargain for Nanaimo taxpayers given the day-to-day demands on our dollars.