The Cost To Resume Rail Service
Seems A Well Kept Secret
Going back to July 2010, then Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Shirley Bond released the findings of a study of the E & N railway which in part stated:
"The study evaluated the cost to improve major sections of the line to support specific markets, as well as considering a full-corridor upgrade. It concluded current volumes of freight and passengers do not support significant infrastructure investment at this time."
Then in June 2011 (one short year later) Christy Clark amid much fanfare rode into town and announced the province would kick in $7.5 million contingent on a study to determine the cost to repair the line, and the feds contributing matching funds. (She may have secretly hoped the feds would back out, leaving her off the hook).
Then in April of this year, MP James Lunney announced the feds would put up $7.5 million with the caveat that that was 'all' the funding from that source.
Now, it seems the ICF still need many millions more and are pitching for a property tax levy to raise another $6 million still needed to get the E&N running again.
I seem to remember a report from long, long ago that estimated it would really cost in the order of $150 million to bring this line up to proper standards. Whatever happened to that study and why do we know think that $20 million or so can do it?
I admire all the hard work supporters of the rail line have put into trying to keep it alive, staunchly believing there is still a future for rail on Vancouver Island, in spite of the fact, there has never been a business plan put forward to support the notion it will ever be self supporting or financially viable.
So, presuming that the ICF can come up with another $6 million, and presuming this is the 'real' amount it will take to get the train running again, what assurance do we have that they will not once again come with cap in hand in six months or so wanting yet another tax levy to keep a non viable train on the tracks?
To read the 75 page 'Evaluation of the E & N Railway Corridor Foundation Report, click on the following graphic.