The Fraser Valley needs passenger rail service now!
99 years ago, Interurban rail service on the B.C. Electric Railroad commenced, extending from Vancouver to Chilliwack. The track heavily influenced the Valley's growth, resulting in compact communities all along the line. While it was a tremendous success in its day, Interurban service was eliminated in the 1950s, as cars became the dominant mode of transport. In the 1950's, the Fraser Valley had about 80,000 people. Today, there are almost a million people south of the Fraser. Citizens up and down the Valley are now speaking up for Rail for the Valley - an alternative to the ever-increasing traffic we see on our ever-expanding roads.
The Interurban track remains completely intact, the B.C. government owns the right-of-way as well as the rights to run passenger rail on this track, and the line runs strategically through the valley, in walking distance of all the South-of-Fraser Colleges and Universities, and most commercial centres.
Studies have suggested a Valley-wide light rail service, from Vancouver to Chilliwack, would cost less than 5 km of Skytrain.
Light rail would provide a reliable alternative that is always there regardless of gas prices, road congestion, and winter driving conditions.
With political will, an initial service could be up and running in less than 2 years.
Whereas the population of the South Fraser Region will soon exceed one million people;
Whereas experts predict gas prices will climb dramatically as soon as the global economy begins to recover;
Whereas the province has imposed a progressively increasing carbon tax on fuel, further increasing the cost of travel, but has not yet provided any transportation alternatives for those of us who live outside Vancouver;
Whereas a light rail service for the Fraser Valley would help British Columbia meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets;
Whereas Surrey's local representatives unanimously favour light rail over Skytrain expansion, with light rail being much quicker to implement and providing far greater benefit to businesses along the line;
Whereas Langley's urban density is as high as Burnaby's, Abbotsford is the 2nd fastest growing city in BC, and Chilliwack's population has increased by 50% in the last 15 years;
Whereas studies have suggested a Valley-wide light rail service, from Vancouver to Chilliwack, would cost less to implement than 5 km of Skytrain;
Whereas the Interurban track remains completely intact, the B.C. government owns the right-of-way as well as the rights to run passenger rail on this track, and the track runs strategically through the valley, in walking distance of all the South-of-Fraser Colleges and Universities, and most commercial centres;
Whereas Interurban light rail is the first step to a comprehensive environmentally sustainable Fraser Valley rail and transit network, and a reliable alternative that is always there regardless of gas prices, road congestion, and winter driving conditions;
Whereas an initial service would take less than 2 years to implement;
We, the undersigned, respectfully ask that the B.C. government immediately begin implementation of a light rail service for the Fraser Valley, serving Vancouver to Chilliwack and communities in between, using the Interurban track south of the Fraser River.
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