21 February 2009

The Rail Alternative

Twice a day I hear a whistle announcing the train's passage through my community. As the sound carries over the lake I wonder, once again, why is it going the wrong way.

Ever since I arrived on the east coast of Vancouver Island in the late 70's, the E&N Line hurtles one lonely passenger car from Victoria to points north in the morning, returning in the early evening. It has been a source of puzzlement and frustration for many who would ride the daily train to work in the province's capital region, except that it runs from south to north, catering mostly to tourists.

A group of dedicated volunteers have offered many solutions over the years. But at long last, two NDP MLA's, one Liberal MP and a number of Capital Region mayors have come together to support an upgrade to the E&N Line.
Several capital region mayors joined forces with New Democrat MLAs Maurine Karagianis and John Horgan and Liberal MP Keith Martin, who called transforming the E&N into a viable commuter line one of the most pressing infrastructure needs in the area.

Federal and Provincial funding is available for infrastructure, although the E&N wasn't specifically mentioned in either of the budgets.

What better way to stimulate the economy? Everyone would benefit, through increased employment to a dramatic decrease in traffic congestion as commuters and freight take to the rails.

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