EDITORIAL: Railway taxes can’t continue

NANAIMO: At first glance, restoring passenger rail service on Vancouver Island is a positive move.

At first glance, restoring passenger rail service on Vancouver Island is a positive move.

A well-run service would ease pressure on the heavily-used Malahat Drive and provide a more environmentally friendly transportation option, getting residents out of their cars.

But a lot of questions still don’t have answers, including whether the service is even viable on the Island.

The Regional District of Nanaimo gave preliminary approval this week to a request by the Island Corridor Foundation for a $945,000, one-time, grant-in-aid, contingent on ICF’s ability to produce a solid commitment from VIA Rail to reinstate the passenger service.

The money is part of $20.4-million for railway upgrades that would allow a daily passenger service to run between Courtenay and Victoria.

The RDN is one of five regional districts asked to pony up so work can get started on the upgrades. Three have already approved their portion of the contribution.

On top of regional district contributions, the provincial and federal governments have kicked in $15 million collectively, the rail operator is paying $500,000 and the foundation would pursue financing from lenders for the remaining $2.2 million.

The ICF is asking taxpayers to invest in passenger rail, but the question remains whether the Island has enough people willing to use this service to make it a viable business venture in the long-term.

And is this the end of the money train?

Current funds would bring the track up to safety standards for the next 10 years, but then what?

The foundation needs to show this is a solid business, one that taxpayers won’t be continually asked to subsidize.

Just Posted

Andy Quinn: What the Tour de Rock means to me

Submitted by Andy Quinn Special to The Record Andy Quinn is one… Continue reading

Sarah Rebitt named the Vanier recipient of the Governor General’s Award

Sarah Rebitt was named the recipient of the 2018 Governor General’s Award… Continue reading

Stolen kayak tops Comox Valley RCMP report

Comox Valley RCMP report week of Sept. 18-2

Dead motorcyclist was member of Facebook group that raced on Mount Washington road

Some group members record their rides and post times to page

UPDATE: Motorcyclist dead following crash on Strathcona Parkway

A 29 year old man has died following a motorcycle crash on… Continue reading

VIDEO: Tour de Rock rider says event provides badly needed support

Cancer survivor and volunteer firefighter Nicole Emery speaks about importance of fundraising tour

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Sept. 25, 2018

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Sept. 25, 2018… Continue reading

Federal use of A.I. in visa applications could breach human rights, report says

Impacts of automated decision-making involving immigration applications and how errors and assumptions could lead to “life-and-death ramifications”

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

Most Read