The province has just committed $500,000 to a study of using the E&N rail line as a commuter route. I think Les Leyne says it best in his column when he said “E&N study could lead to right track“. Like Les, I am skeptical. We have been drowning in studies over rail transport of one kind or another, mostly involving LRT but most involving the Victoria – Langford section of the E&N. The most recent study found that for a mere $16 of initial capital cost, we could have something rail-like running out to the westshore (Source: C4CR Study – PDF ). Last year, a one day run of the E&N route in the morning took 21 minutes and was packed full, despite the $10 cost. In the past election, 93% of the Langford and Colwood voters voted to ask the provinical and federal governments to fund light rail.
Of course, all this talk of rail ignores the question of what emissions the roads and the cars that use them produce. After all, Canada’s emissions are up 21% from 1990, which makes us the worst offender in the developed world. While a lot of this increase comes from the oil sands, that oil is going to fuel our vehicles. A recent study found that the effects of road travel is higher than that of air travel, on a emissions basis. Stephen Rees of Vancouver talks a little bit about what this means for the lower mainland region. Of course, Gateway is championed by the same Kevin Falcon that today announced the study.
So what is the future? I hope it is one of action. Of course, you can help. Call Kevin Falcon or John Baird (the Federal Transport minister) and tell them you want rail here on the Island.