Not against rail, but reservations about current proposal

Chemainus – I feel that I must respond to Peter Elliot’s comments (April 30) regarding my letter of April 23 concerning the realism of the plans for a commuter train service here on Southern Vancouver Island.

First; I seem to have achieved one of my objectives, which was to start debate on the question of the feasibility and true costs of the proposals.

Second; I am not against rail as a fast and efficient mode of transportation of both people and freight, I am unsure of the feasibility of the present proposal in achieving that objective. Third; regarding those who have given their support to the proposals; I too support the proposal provided it can be built and operated in a cost-effective manner. My concern is that a large part of the construction and operating cost (probably in the form of subsidies) will be borne by one of the levels of government and as a taxpayer to all three levels I am concerned about where my money is spent.

Incidentally, Mr. Elliot invokes Via Rail as one of the supporters of the proposal; I seem to remember that when the latest provisional agreement hit the press a few weeks ago the name of Via Rail was conspicuously absent from those who were parties to the document.

Let the debate continue both here in the press and hopefully in the corridors of power.

Graham Jones