Monday, November 17, 2008

LRT ALL Over the News

Over the busy civic election days there were several noteworthy news articles that came out in print that are very encouraging and sends the message that Light Rail Transit will not go away! Here are a few:
The Surrey Leader reported last week that BC Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon says that SkyTrain is no "slam dunk" in expanding rapid transit from Surrey to Langley. The article mentions that TransLink has yet to put the study tender out and talk has been that the results of the study will not be out until after the Provincial election. I'm at least happy to see that talk of rapid bus service is deminishing and SkyTrain vs. LRT is being discussed.

"Light rail could be the smartest, wisest thing to do," Falcon told The Surrey-North Delta Leader.

"I wouldn't rule that in or out. But for goodness sakes, let's do our homework first and make sure we actually know what we're talking about before we make a decision on what the answer should be."

-- Minister Falcon

SFOT Board Member Bill Taylor pointed us this morning to this Vancouver Sun article on LRT comments made by Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, the most popular mayor in metro Vancouver!
"Watts has asked city officials to investigate the cost of an at-grade light-rail line as a possible alternative to a costly and elevated SkyTrain extension. She said light rail would cost about one-fifth the price of a SkyTrain extension and would be more pedestrian-friendly, adding to street ambience."
Finally, not an LRT story but, in The Province newspaper today, Jon Ferry wonders why the federal government is putting roadblocks up to block more regular trains from Vancouver to Seattle and most especially high-speed rail on that route. He mentions the hoops set up by the Canadian Border Services Agency, but neglects to mention that a Washington State Department of Transportation report points to the replacement of the New Westminster rail bridge as a significant obstacle to high-speed rail service between Vancouver, BC and Seattle.

As driving from Langley to Vancouver to park at near the seedy Via Rail station downtown doesn't thrill me, I will be driving to the beautiful Fairhaven AMTRAK train station in Bellingham this Wednesday for my business trip to Seattle. The USA is getting their rail act together in a big way. If our federal government doesn't want to get on board, I have no problem giving my money to the Americans for a very reasonable, enjoyable and stress-free ride to SEA to conduct my business. Fairhaven is like our historic Fort Langley and AMTRAK even offers some decent food in the Bistro car. The AMTRAK staff are exceptional people as well!

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