An Alstom “Coradia iLint” train, touted by the company as the “world’s first hydrogen powered train.” The train is pitched by South Fraser Community Rail group for use from Surrey to Chilliwack along the existing interurban rail line. (Photo: Alstom)

An Alstom “Coradia iLint” train, touted by the company as the “world’s first hydrogen powered train.” The train is pitched by South Fraser Community Rail group for use from Surrey to Chilliwack along the existing interurban rail line. (Photo: Alstom)

LETTER: SkyTrain announcement condemns Fraser Valley to more congestion

$1.5-billion investment could create communities with a modern 130-kilometre regional railway

Friday’s federal funding photo-op for the $3.95 billion, 18-kilometre Expo Line extension to Langley, didn’t mention that the project is almost $1 billion short of funding and the shortfall must be made up by the province and TransLink, with higher user fees, transit fares, gas taxes and many more hidden taxes that subsidize the present SkyTrain light metro system.

That does not make for good photo-ops. If Justin Trudeau and John Horgan really want to reduce pollution and congestion, SkyTrain light-metro is the wrong way to go, because it doesn’t. It has been recognized for decades that light-metro is very poor in reducing congestion and associated pollution, as Vancouver has demonstrated.

RELATED: Poll says 88% of South Fraser adults want passenger trains between Surrey, Chilliwack

Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain light-metro system has been one of the most studied systems in the world and the results show that when compared to modern light rail, Vancouver’s SkyTrain not only costs much more to build, it costs more to operate and maintain, lacks capacity and lacks flexibility in operation.

Most telling is mode share for transit has not changed much in the past 50 years and hovers around 15 per cent. SkyTrain has not attracted the motorist from the car. No one has copied Vancouver’s transit planning and only seven examples of the proprietary railway that is used on the Expo and Millennium Lines have been sold in 40 years.

Despite the shrill claims, alternative facts and fake news of the SkyTrain cult, Friday’s announcement has condemned Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley to massive traffic congestion for another generation.

For a $1.5-billion investment, using the Rail for the Valley’s Leewood Study, Vancouver/Richmond could have been connected to North Delta, central Surrey, Cloverdale, Langley, Abbotsford, Sardis/Vedder and Chilliwack, with a modern 130-kilometre regional railway that by its very nature would attract far more customers.

Malcolm Johnston

Delta

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