Tuesday, October 6, 2020

High-Speed Rail Corridor Pitched for South Coast: Whistler to Chilliwack in 60 Minutes

I had the chance to review and provide some feedback for a high-speed rail corridor proposal for the Sea-to-Sky corridor, Metro Vancouver, and Fraser Valley. I think that the proposal has merit, and should be studied further by the provincial government.

I know that our region is continuing to grow; there will be another million more people in Metro Vancouver over the next 30 years. We need a bold vision to help us keep people moving in our region, and help us recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can read the high-speed rail corridor vision at https://mvx.vision/.

The following is the press release for the vision.

Travel time for Mountian Valley Express (MVX) compared to auto. Select image to enlarge.

Metro Vancouver - The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting Canadians in ways not seen for generations. People have lost loved ones, small business owners have been forced to close their businesses for good, and a record number of people are unemployed. This pandemic has paused our way of life as we know it, and has forced us to reset our priorities.

As we look forward to a vaccine for COVID-19, and a restarting of our economy, one urban planner wants the Province to chart an ambitious new course for recovery.

“We have a choice. Do we continue business as usual, or chart a new path to prosperity, a path that also considers the large looming climate emergency?” Asks PhD candidate Alex Gaio, who recently completed his masters degree in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.

Gaio notes that British Columbia, Washington State, and Oregon State are currently studying a $50 billion high-speed rail line that will link Vancouver to Seattle to Portland. He thinks that a similar study is required for the South Coast of BC.

The proposal for the plan is called the Mountain Valley Express or MVX for short. The report can be read on the website at https://mvx.vision.

“MVX high-speed rail will move 97,000 trips per day, taking 20% of all drivers off our congested highways,” says Delta native Gaio. “High-speed rail would mean you could travel from Whistler to Chilliwack in an hour.”

According to Gaio, the MVX corridor if built would:

  • Support the Province’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2040
  • Move as many people as 6 lanes of highway
  • Support 460,000 to one million jobs over 30 years
  • Create $49-61 billion in transportation benefits over 30 years
  • Cost 30-70% less than expanding the highway network to meet the same demand
  • Reduce travel time by 80% compared to driving

“As we think about the COVID-19 recovery, we need to think big,” says Langley City Councillor Nathan Pachal who has read the vision. “BC is a province of builders. Let’s build for the future.”

Gaio, a member of the MVX Collective, hopes that the Province will consider launching a feasibility study for the Mountain Valley Express.

“If we are studying the Cascadia high-speed rail corridor in earnest,” says Gaio, “We should also be studying high-speed rail for people who need it everyday in our own backyard.”

For further information, contact:
Alex Gaio

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