Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weekend Newswire

Here are a few items to review from the past couple of days:

28 Ways to Treat Your Lover
If you haven't already heard, TransLink has listed 28 potential ways to get them out of their financial troubles in 2009. Some or all of the 28 will be adopted. The Province newspaper covered that here yesterday. One of the most controversial is a "cellphone tax". People are asking what connection cellphones have with transit and most people I talked with over the past couple of days thinks we already pay far too much for cellphones and a new tax is ridiculous!

This is a Re-Announcement
BC Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon has been busy making re-announcements of plans already announced. The Province newspaper also covered that on December 11th. South Fraser OnTrax is not happy that this extension does not include Langley and we hope that campaign promises in the civic elections will change that.

This article from yesterday's Province newspaper speaks about the Surrey and Vancouver studies that ignore the rest of the south Fraser. Again, people expect transit to appear out of thin air without any studies. Just spend billions of taxpayer dollars on transit and don't study or engineer anything. While I'm all for transit and as motivated as anyone to get light rail in operation now, I don't get this lack of logic with regards to studies and engineering. Do these people comprehend passenger safety and the requirements that go with it? I've heard people say that they should just throw a train down on the old interurban tracks and run an experimental passenger train. But if they took the time to read what qualified engineers said in the Township of Langley commissioned UMA Report, they would soon see that there are many old industrial shipping spurs on that line that by Federal Law must be decommissioned by removing them. There are many other examples, but the bottom line is that this is PASSENGER rail and we must put safety first.

Finally there is much talk in the USA about what President Elect Obama is going to spend that nation's infrastructure dollars on. This news blog out of Chicago speaks about light rail possibilities and greener cars. I sure wish our own Canadian Federal Government was talking more about passenger rail and light rail transit. On the subject of cars I"m getting a big kick out of all this talk about bailing out the big automobile makers. These guys have been arrogant and failing to deliver what North American consumers want for years now and we contemplate bailing them out? They were asked to reduce worker wages to Toyota and Honda pay levels and they refused. What about a cap on executive compensation?

I'm not eager to give these big auto manufacturers one cent of my tax dollars. In 2005 I ordered a loaded Chrysler 300 from a Burnaby dealer. The car was being manufactured in Brampton, ON and I did not get the car within the window of delivery the salesman promised. I was told Chrysler Canada was ignoring Canadian buyers and had my car in a large parking lot in Ontario as Chrysler Canada shipped cars to the USA because the exchange at the time made them more money. The local dealership manager called me arrogantly on the phone to tell me that he wasn't happy that I was calling his salesman for the car and that if I wanted to, they would sell it to someone else. I faxed the CEO of Chrysler Canada and said that one day the economy was going to change and they would only wish for customers like me. His office was arrogant to, but they put my car on a train to fast-track it to BC. I vowed never to buy from these North American manufacturers again. Arrogance, overspending, and lack of customer service is what killed them. Let them die off and replace them with the tram manufacturers and car companies that will produce VERY green cars at very affordable prices.

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