Widening highway won’t fix commute

Re: “E&N line’s real value is as a trail, not rail,” comment, Feb. 11.

Denise Savoie writes: “Limited study of rail options shows that large capital expenditures and high ongoing subsidies would be needed for all of them.”

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Why do we continue with large capital expenditures for many other transportation systems, such as SkyTrain or the West Coast Express? Why do we continue with large capital expenditures for the McKenzie Interchange and municipal bus systems? We have evidence that we need mass-transit systems to enable people to commute and we have evidence that cars are a poor way to enable people to commute in cities.

We don’t expect any of the other mass transit systems to cover all their operating costs, let alone their capital costs. Why should we expect a transit system using part of the E&N rail corridor to start up and run without a subsidy? The Colwood Crawl cannot be changed to the Colwood Cruise by widening the highway.

Leaving the E&N rail corridor empty and trying to make the Island Highway corridor carry the bulk of Victoria’s commuter needs will be another example of the folly of relying on cars for a solution to our commuter problems. Investing in “street cars,” and the accompanying stations, sidings and synchronization with city buses can take some of the load off the Island Highway.

This investment will not be completely recovered from fares, any more than the costs of buses or SkyTrain are.

Steve Cooley

Campbell River

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