Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Canada’s national dream

Railroads play an important role in Canada’s history. There are many parallels with the United States, except that Canada has had many more politicians pay lip service to better rail service. Greg Gormick writes with the voice of an experienced observer. You should read his history lesson and commentary highlighted here from the Toronto Star.

The question now is whether this federal government is serious about giving Canadians a credible and sustainable alternative to car and air travel. Or are they once again taunting this hardworking, underfed iron horse with yet more feed that will be whipped away after an election?

If the Tories opt for the latter route, they’re making a big mistake. Trains have much untapped potential in getting our economic and environmental houses in order.

That’s being proved daily around the world, where every major country – including China and India – is investing at an unprecedented level in better and faster rail passenger service. Even the anti-public-enterprise government of George Bush is loaded with pro-rail politicians who keep rescuing Amtrak from the White House’s chopping block.

The potential for rail transportation is better understood by the Canadian public now than ever before. Opinion polls confirm they want a national system of trains that will make it possible to leave the car at home and avoid the nightmare of so-called modern air travel whenever possible. Leaving Canadians standing on the platform by reneging on a promise like this one won’t make them happy voters the next time around.

So, let’s hope Flaherty is sincere when he says his government is dedicated to “improving and expanding VIA.”

It couldn’t be a more timely or logical commitment. He’ll find it pays off in every way – including at the ballot box.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

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October 2007


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