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FW: [T_2000] Fw: [CDN-Rys] Lets Clear Tracks For Commuters

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  • Andrew Dawson
    This may be of interest to the Canadian members of the carfree cities list. Andrew ... _________________________________________________________________ Take
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2004
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      This may be of interest to the Canadian members of the carfree cities list.
      Andrew

      >From: wf393
      >To: Ron Smith
      >Cc: Canadian-Railways
      >Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2004 5:16 PM
      >Subject: [CDN-Rys] Lets Clear Tracks For Commuters
      >
      > > Modern Railway Barons Blocking Progress.
      > >
      > > Should there be more GO trains? More frequent service? More
      > > extended rush hour service?
      > > That could be possible if only the railway companies weren't
      > > blocking the tracks.
      > >
      > >
      > > Before the last federal election, BillC-26 ( an act to amend the
      > > Canada Transportation Act) died on the Order Paper.
      > > While the bill itself was broad and sweeping, the commuter rail
      > > provisions encountered little or no opposition ---- even from
      > > Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway.
      > >
      > > Bill C-26 was actually the culmination of a five year mandatory
      > > review of the 1996 Act by the Canadian Transportation Act Review
      > > Panel.
      > > West Coast Express from B.C., Agence Metropolitaine de Transport
      > > (AMT) of Montreal and GO Transit appeared before the panel to
      > > advocate commuter rails collective position.
      > > In the final summer of 2001 report, the panel accepted commuter
      > > rails arguments and recommended that the federal government:
      > >
      > > 1) Enhance track access for commuter rail services.
      > > 2) Preserve urban rail corridors for urban transit.
      > > 3) Recognize that urban areas are a source of major transportation
      > > problems.
      > > 4) Recognize that urban transit is a key component of a
      > > comprehensive multimodal transit policy.
      > >
      > > Bill C-26 captured the essence of these principles but didn't go
      > > beyond first reading.
      > >
      > > How-ever, possibly the most significant historical acknowledgment
      > > contained in Bill C-26 was that the contributions of government and
      > > transportation authorities to railways for infrastructure
      > > improvements be part of the calculation of the rate to be paid for
      > > the track access and services.
      > >
      > > Implicit in this is:
      > > 1) The acknowledgment that the sweat equity of the labourers (
      > > thousands of Chinese coolies, paid one-fifth the wage of others,
      > > died in building the CPR ).
      > > 2) The land and resources grants ( CPR alone had 25 million acres
      > > transferred to it in 1881 ).
      > > 3) The direct government subsidies ( CPR was granted $25 million in
      > > 1881 and another $22.5 million in loans in 1884 ).
      > >
      > > The near monopoly of the railways is tantamount to privateering.
      > > Commuter rail is nothing more than an afterthought.
      > >
      > > The railway barons of the 19th century were able to bribe
      > > governments to get what they wanted, however, Sir John A.
      > > MacDonald's government paid the ultimate price and was toppled in
      > > the Pacific Scandal.
      > > The railway barons of today need to be told firmly that the old
      > > order has changed. It is time to put an end to the lopsided
      > > relationship between the railways ( which have benefited from
      > > extravagant government largess ) and commuter rail authorities.
      > >
      > > The federal government has an unprecedented opportunity to bolster
      > > support for its "new Deal" for cities and communities, remedy a
      > > festering, decades old inequity, help reduce pollution and relieve
      > > gridlock in major urban conglomerations like Montreal, Vancouver
      > > and Toronto and prevent it in other rapidly urbanizing communities.
      > > It can achieve all these good things without costing the federal
      > > treasury a single penny and without any serious opposition.
      > > Any"new deal" must facilitate linkages between and among larger
      > > cities and smaller communities. Commuter passenger rail is an
      > > essential component to providing linkages between interdependent
      > > communities.
      > > In order to help the federal government, commuter rail authorities
      > > like West Coast Express, AMT and Go Transit all require better and
      > > fairer access to Canada's rail corridors at competitive --- not
      > > usurious --- rates.
      > >
      > > More that a century ago, the Canadian Pacific Railway was created
      > > to link British Columbia and the eastern provinces.
      > > Imported, underpaid and exploited Chinese's labourers from southern
      > > China were given the most dangerous jobs in its construction, in
      > > 1881, the officially incorporated Canadian Pacific Railway Company
      > > was given cash subsidies, land grants and property tax exemptions,
      > > in 1873, the Pacific Scandal precipitated the resignation of the
      > > government because MacDonald and his cabinet were accused of
      > > accepting bribes to influence the award of contracts for the
      > > building of the transcontinental railway.
      > >
      > > A little more than a century later, the CPR charges usurious access
      > > fees to transport ordinary working Canadians, the Royal Canadian
      > > Mint is striking two gold coins to commemorate the Chinese's
      > > railroad workers, and Paul Martin's government is seriously
      > > contemplating finally ending the exploitative relationships foisted
      > > on commuter rail authorities.
      > >
      > > The CEO of CN ( E. Hunter Harrison ) recently made a statement that
      > > captures precisely the mindset of the railways.
      > > Reporting on CN's "outstanding" third-quarter financial results, he
      > > was asked about the principle of " open access" where rivals could
      > > have access to CN's tracks. Still buoyed by the euphoria of the
      > > results, he responded "Access doesn't bother me. Access is for the
      > > strong."
      > > Obviously, we need the strength of the federal government to assist
      > > the weak commuting public.
      > > The reintroduction of the commuter rail provisions would be a
      > > substantive acknowledgment that the interests of commuting Canadian
      > > taxpayers take precedence over the narrow commercial interests of
      > > the railways.
      > >
      > > Lets clear the tracks for GO, AMT and West Coast Express.
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Canadian-Railways - "The open forum on the Canadian Railway scene"
      > >
      > >
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      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > >
      > > To visit your group on the web, go to:
      > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Canadian-Railways/
      > >
      > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      > > Canadian-Railways-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      > >
      > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
      >
      >

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