To all those frugal taxpayers who are giving the the Vancouver Island Railway a thumbs down — what are you thinking?
This existing railway line is a blessing and the $18 million to get it back on its feet is the bargain of the century.
How do these frugal taxpayers get to Victoria now? Unless they have the Star Trek Instantaneous Transportation Device they drive their car. These roadways do not come cheap.
For example, let’s look at the Malahat.
This summer saw the addition of 2.5 km of lane barriers and the improvement of the Malahat/Shawnigan Lake intersection. The price for this tiny bit of roadwork was $8 million.
There is public pressure to install more barriers, which the government will pay over $12 million for.
The government has been slow to react to this public pressure because their own studies have shown that the Malahat is reaching its vehicle capacity during peak periods, which means in a few years a major reconstruction will need to take place.
They have come up with three possibilities. The cheapest rerouting would cost $300 million and remove 50 acres from Goldstream Park.
The second option is realigning the road through Sooke Hills Regional Park for $400 million. The third option is a Saanich Peninsula/Mill Bay bridge with a projected cost of $3.3 billion.
The Malahat is only 10 per cent of the roadway from here to Victoria.
A train service would not eliminate roadwork but it would greatly reduce the wear and tear on the highway plus eliminate the need for its constant expansion and improvements due to increasing traffic.