The Vancouver Island Transportation Corridor Coalition is a nonprofit society incorporated under the laws of the Province of British Columbia. Its charter is to bring modern and efficient rail service to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, as the core of the Island's future transportation system. The VITCC tactical work includes growing a broad coalition of partners, including both government and non-government groups, to help achieve these goals. We need your voice!
The VITCC wants to solve Vancouver Island's growing transportation crisis. While some parts of the Island are relatively free of it's effects, many Nanaimo, Duncan and South Island residents have seen a massive degradation of their commuting times in the last decade. Our Island will benefit from modern and efficient rail service that integrates with all other forms of transportation including cycling, bus, taxi, park & ride facilities and more. The facts are that rail service can move people in comfort and with an efficiency of up to twenty five times less GHG emissions. Freight also is far more efficient to move by rail than any other form of transportation. We are not trying to bring back the E&N Dayliner, we seek a new transit corridor with clean and quiet service running on useful schedules to serve all residents.
Think of the possibilities? Special excursion trains could bring people from all over the Island to Mt. Washington to ski in the winter/mountain bike in the summer or just to relax. Traveling to the Nanaimo Airport? It is right along the corridor. Regular medical appointments in Victoria could be done in a far more relaxing manner via rail. The positive impacts on tourism are huge. Smaller towns like Chemainus or Ladysmith could see massive economic benefits. The most important thing to remember is that it also reduces GHG emissions and helps make peoples lives better.
Our members and followers envision passengers being able to hop onto a train running every 20 minutes between Westhills and downtown Victoria and bring their bikes on board. We see a workforce that can relax and work on their digital devices while commuting safely.
We believe our island industries can thrive economically. We want to leave our planet a better place by helping reduce tens of thousands of car trips every day and by building cycling infrastructure alongside the rail right of way.
The mandate of the VITCC is to promote modern rail service as the backbone of the Island's future transportation system. The status quo of continuing to build more roads (currently the focus of the NPD government), is neither a long-term practical nor environmental solution. According to the BC Government's own study, a trip from Mill Bay to Victoria could take as much as two and a half hours by 2038, averaging under 20 KPH!
So far our elected officials have opted to evaluate rail solely by economic viability. Using such criteria, how could bike lanes or other public transport like BC Ferries and buses be justified? The answer is they cannot be rationalized solely by economic returns! The VITCC believes we should use economic, social and environmental metrics. We ask you, the reader, to consider the true cost of commuters losing 40 hours every month stuck in traffic? Many industry experts have pointed out that the massive contingencies used by our Provincial government within their study have negatively skewed the economic costs of rail while failing to consider the triple bottom line. A 2020 economic study by an independent consultant shows that modern rail service will produce a net positive economic result.
All Island Residents are paying a Carbon Tax which is meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not allow them to continue while merely reaping tax revenues. Where is the logic in such short-term thinking? We have one planet and need to protect it. The environmental result of pouring more concrete (like the Malahat and Mackenie road work projects) is a continuation of massive GHG emissions while not creating a long term, viable transportation solution. The fact is that paving and cement work alone are ultra-high Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emitters. Add in the pollution from 80,000+ daily vehicle trips on the south Island and our current scenario can be called a complete failure.
The truth is Vancouver Island MLAs do not have a single strategy to reduce CO2 that could even be remotely as successful as shifting to rail, a pattern used successfully by most of the rest of the world. Rail can move both people and freight with far less GHG emissions than any other form of transport. We have the facts to back this up. Many rail manufacturers offer ZERO emission rail solutions today. A full electrification of the line and power from renewable sources can make our transportation CO2 neutral. Rather than incur the upstream costs of electrification, companies like Alstrom offer Hydrogen powered trains that produce no pollution and could travel from Victoria to Courteney twice on a single refuel.
In accordance with the Province of British Columbia's stated usage of revenues from the BC Carbon Tax, our belief is that restoration of rail has already been paid for by taxpayers of Vancouver Island.
The Society strongly supports integration and cooperation with ALL other forms of transportation such as cycling and pedestrian pathways, as well as ferry, taxi, other public transport integration and to continue to build upon the more than 100+ kilometers of cycling trails alongside the Island Rail Corridor (formerly called the E&N rail line.
Now it is time to hold elected officials accountable. Pledge your support to vote for only MLAs who will keep their promise to support our future. Our future quality of life depends on it. There are two choices - start now (less expensive) or later (more expensive and past the environmental tipping point).
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