Letter June 27: Yes, the train subsidy is huge

Re: “Faulty math and a faulty plan,” letters, June 26.

Jack Peake claims that my math is faulty about the subsidy needed to restore the railway on the E&N corridor. Not so.

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For the slow train, the government report shows an average 613 daily passengers on a restored train. For ease of math, I assume them to be the same people, commuting regularly.

The cost of the track restoration, annualized over 20 years with zero interest, is $16.3 million a year.

Divided by 613 passengers, that’s $26,600 per passenger per year. Add the operating subsidy ($2,300), and it’s $28,900, or $42,300 with 2.5 per cent interest. The subsidy for the faster train comes to $44,000 per passenger per year, or $65,000 with 2.5 per cent interest.

Peake says that adding 32 buses to the 23,000 daily vehicles on the Malahat would cause congestion. But not if each bus takes 30 cars off the road.

Based on experience on the Sooke road, a good transit service could persuade up to 20 per cent of car drivers to use the bus, reducing congestion even more.

To support a subsidy this absurdly big would be to throw our hard-earned tax dollars away as if there is no tomorrow.

Guy Dauncey
President, Yellow Point Ecological Society

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