All 13 mayors within the CRD are asking the Province to commit funding in the February budget for the section of the E&N rail line between Langford and Victoria as well as for completion of bus rapid transit lanes to the West Shore. (City of Victoria)

All 13 CRD mayors call for province to fund E&N rail segment

Mayors want train running again between Langford and Victoria, rapid transit lanes to the West Shore

Pressure is mounting to get the train running again between Langford and Victoria, as all 13 mayors within the Capital Regional District sent a letter Wednesday to Premier John Horgan and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena to urge immediate action.

The mayors are asking the province to commit funding for that section of the E&N rail line as well as for completion of bus rapid transit lanes to the West Shore in the February budget.

“The E&N corridor is a significant transportation corridor for the region and Vancouver Island. We must begin to make the necessary and long overdue investments in this corridor,” said View Royal Mayor David Screech.

RELATED: Provincial, municipal leaders meet to discuss E&N Railway service

At an E&N stakeholder meeting in December 2018, participants expressed overwhelming support for rail use of the corridor to ease traffic congestion and boost economic development.

“The impacts of inadequate transportation infrastructure on the Langford to Victoria corridor are dramatic. It negatively impacts our quality of life, reduces family time, damages the performance of our economy and adds to GHG emissions. Provincial leadership is respectfully called for,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes.

After that meeting with provincial, municipal and First Nations leaders and members of the Island Corridor Foundation, Premier John Horgan assigned several staff members to further investigate what it would take to get the project going and which mode of transportation would be best.

RELATED: Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

Acknowledging “the need for more study for the sections of track beyond Langford,” the mayors caution that delaying action on the Victoria to Langford segment of the corridor will result in potentially losing federal government funding.

The group said further studies are not needed for a train between Victoria and Langford, as well as rapid transit lanes to the West Shore, and it will provide significant environmental benefits including a reduction in GHGs and will relieve regional gridlock.

“Once this priority is addressed, the mayors recommend a phased approach for the rest of the line on Vancouver Island that honours the wishes of First Nations along the corridor,” reads the letter.

The provincial budget comes down on Feb. 19.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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