Opinion

Our take: Wake up to the state of the line and commit

The flap about the safety of the Chemainus River rail bridge is something Island Corridor Foundation executive director Graham Bruce would just as soon have us ignore.

But it should be a stern reminder of the precarious state of the E&N rail line and a clarion call to the powers-that-be about making an appropriate investment into Vancouver Island rail before it is too late.

The Dayliner is not running anymore because the line is not safe enough to risk human lives on regular, high-speed commutes. That situation has existed for some time.

And with every passing day the E&N moves closer to the point of it being rendered useless to even the small handful of freight customers making use of it today.

And while the dribs and drabs of funding that have dribbled in from various governments are nice, and may still result in an $18.2-million upgrade that may see the Dayliner return later this year, they remain just “go play” money when stacked against the upgrade of well over $100 milion that is needed to truly get the track, well, back on track.

And Bruce remains the taxpayer equivalent of an investment capitalist desperately trying to generate at least the appearance of enough real progress to get this project over the hump and on the rails.

The sad thing is too many people are still looking at the track as an investment in nostalgia, rather than the forward-thinking opportunity it is. Clean-running efficient rail is a superior alternative to the choke of highway traffic and Vancouver Island residents need that opportunity.

Governments think nothing of investing billions in highways that may become cart tracks in two generations.

Enough playing around. They need to make a full and firm commitment in this. Our grandkids will thank them for it.

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