Negotiations between the Island Corridor Foundation and VIA Rail to restart passenger service on the Island seem to have gone off the tracks.
The foundation claims VIA Rail won’t return to the negotiating table, and doesn’t know why.
VIA Rail, however, says that it laid out clearly to the foundation the list of conditions that it would take to restart passenger service and the foundation has yet to meet any of those terms. Until then, VIA says, there’s no point in negotiating.
Both companies are pointing fingers at the other to take responsibility, with the foundation going so far as to ask the public to pressure VIA Rail.
If the public is to be used as a political tool, it needs all the necessary information to properly evaluate the process. Based on claims by both sides it seems as though the public is missing key information.
Regardless, it’s not the public’s responsibility to restart negotiations – that lies with the two companies involved.
Last year, regional districts across the Island, the provincial and federal governments all pledged money to upgrade the rails and make passenger service safe – dollars dependent on passenger rail actually running on that corridor.
As the bickering in the media continues, government support for passenger rail service dwindles daily, with politicians looking to other projects to support with much quicker payoff than what they’re seeing with the foundation and VIA Rail right now.
The public is also looking for alternative uses for this valuable tract of land as people become more and more used to a lack of passenger rail and more apathetic as talks drag on.
It’s time for all sides to stop placing blame on others and take responsibility for restarting passenger rail service on the Island. The longer they wait, the more likely rail service will simply be a nostalgic memory.