This may be of interest to the Canadian members of the carfree cities list.
>To: Ron Smith
>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]
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