Monday, September 27, 2010

Feds kill Second Amtrak Train

It is a sad state of affairs when sustainable transportation options are being held up by our federal government. Washington State has received $590 million to improve passenger rail between Vancouver, BC and Eugene, Oregon from the US federal government and is busy improving rail service, but one party has not come to the table. In 2009, a second Amtrak train was added between Vancouver and Seattle due to the provincial government spending $2.8 million toward a new siding at BNSF Railway’s Colebrook site in Delta. It looks like this is all coming to an end on October 31, 2010. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation:
The Canadian federal government late last week said it would require WSDOT to pay nearly $550,000 a year for border-clearance services. This money would cover additional staffing by the Canada Border Services Agency for the 10:50 p.m. second-train arrival.

“British Columbia and Washington are so disappointed by this news,” said Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. “The economic benefits for Vancouver and Washington are clear as travelers shop, eat and stay in local hotels. The second train has brought an estimated $11.8 million in economic benefits to British Columbia during the year it has been allowed to operate. Does it really make sense for $550,000 in annual border inspection fees to be the reason the service ends?”

“I am very disappointed to hear about this lack of commitment from the Canadian federal government,” said State Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Washington has made investing in passenger rail service a top priority, but we need support from our neighbors to continue this valuable transportation option that connects our two countries. We will be reaching out to our congressional delegation urging their support in resolving this issue between the U.S. and Canadian governments.”
Please write you local MP postage free if you think something should be done about this. In Langley, that would be:

Mark Warawa
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

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