Island Corridor Foundation needs regional districts to support E&N rail line plans

Bernard Von Schulmann has posted an interesting analysis of the Island Corridor foundation’s situation as it tries to get the money together to get the E&N rail line repaired and trains moving again. In short, they have $7.5 million from the federal government, $7.5 million from the provincial government, and need a smaller amount from the five regional districts the line goes through.

Two of the five have so far agreed to levy the small amount on property taxes. And when I say small, I mean small: a couple of dollars per property per year for five years in Bernard’s analysis. His analysis appears to assume that it would be entirely paid by residents, but I’m not sure that’s accurate. Would business property tax rolls really be ignored in this? An argument could be made that they could benefit from commuter rail.

So far the Capital Regional District has not signed on. This is a challenge for the Island Corridor Foundation because the CRD represents slightly more than half of the population of the five regional districts in question. Langford Council has had their differences with the CRD in the past, but Langford is probably the single-most enthusiastically supportive municipality of getting commuter rail running on the E&N line, and a referendum on the subject garnered massive support from Langford voters a few municipal elections ago, so if the CRD agrees to pursue this they would likely not receive any local resistance.