Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A General Motors Atonement?

The Tyee has this interesting article by Crawford Killian that suggests General Motors (GM) can atone for their past sins (building huge gas guzzlers), and finally make a contribution to our society and its future by becoming a massive light rail manufacturer. 

We here at South Fraser OnTrax love the idea and since the visit of LRT expert Brent Graham last year, we have been speaking with everyone we can about the idea of turning some of Langley's industrial space into a Light Rail car manufacturing hub. Our location in roughly the center of all the LRT cities is perfect. I am a commissioner with the Township of Langley's Economic Development Commission (EDC) and when I suggested this item be added to the work plan, it received a warm reception from all those present. I believe it will be addressed in the broader work plan.

Township Council and Mayor Rick Green are all supportive of Light Rail Transit. Councillor Mel Kositsky wants to ensure someone other than the Township pay for it. Councillor Kim Richter has said she fully supports SFOT in our advocacy, but has raised questions about the costs of LRT at several council table discussions. 

Richter recently attended a sustainability conference in Portland, OR. Perhaps she had opportunity to use the streetcars and MAX line in Portland, and see the possibilities for herself.   In any case, we look forward to ToL support on this initiative that will take some time to get off the ground. The first step will be to contact LRT producers and query their interest. Brent Graham told us that several European manufacturers would like to have a North American base of operation. 

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