Monday, February 4, 2008

Light Rail Proponents Call for Falcon Resignation


TEL: 604-889-4484
EMAIL: Malcolm Johnston
MAIL: Light Rail Committee, Box 105, Delta, BC V4K 3N5


DELTA, BC February 4 -- The Light Rail Committee has called for the immediate resignation of BC Transportation Minister, Kevin Falcon. This follows what the LRC says were misleading, politically-motivated statements made last Friday, during Falcon's re-announcement of the Evergreen Line.

"The Minister's claims are not supported by modern, global, transportation knowledge," said LRC Chairman, Malcolm Johnston.

"SkyTrain - Falcon's automated, driverless, light-metro transit system - does not carry more people. It is not faster and worse, it actually costs more to operate than modern light-rail transit, not less," Johnston emphasised.

The LRC points out that, in 1993, GVRD reported an annual subsidy for SkyTrain of $157 million. Since the opening of the Millennium Line, the annual subsidy quietly paid to support the proprietary light-metro has risen to over $200-million a year.

"Yet again, we hear an unelected, unaccountable TransLink Board, pulling reasons out of the air to justify its decision, as it announces plans to force a gold-plated metro-transit system on the region - the fourth since 1980," said Johnston.

The LRC opposes outright the decision to force what it says will be another unaffordable SkyTrain line on regional taxpayers. It is being done with little planning, and no real consideration of internationally-popular and cheaper alternatives."

Since SkyTrain was first marketed in the late 1970s, only five such systems have been built. Two, Vancouver and Toronto, were forced on the operating authority. During the same period, over 100 new LRT systems have been built and more are under construction.

At a time when economy in construction, operation and debt-servicing are prime considerations for transit planners, SkyTrain and SkyTrain light-metros have failed to find a market. The LRC says that, in effect, they have been made obsolete by modern LRT.

The following quote from LRC Chair Malcolm Johnston sums up the situation:

"Building light-metro, on transit routes that do not have the ridership to support the mode, guarantees that the portion of property taxes paid to support TransLink will not double; it will not triple - it will quadruple over the next decade.

"The lack of clarity, and auditable fiscal responsibility in our regional transit planning is telling - worse, it is a financial time bomb for taxpayers."

Using figures gleaned from TransLink's own reports, the LRC said that despite the over $5 billion spent on SkyTrain, the percentage of people in the region who use public transit has stagnated at about 12%.

"To pour more money into the SkyTrain 'pit', at best, demonstrates Minister Falcon's total ineptitude. His claims are not supported by the facts. In short, he is unfit for the office."

Kevin Falcon must resign!


Anonymous said...

I'm suprised nobody called for resignations a couple weeks ago when they announced the Translink meetings were going to be held in private.... where was the NDP?, sleeping on the job again?

It looks like BC Bloggers have become the offical BC opposition by defacto-standards.

daveformayor said...

OK, so what next? Time for this doofus to go. Are we going to have a rally or just bitch and moan like always? I never thought I would say this in a million years but the NDP are starting to look good, only because the liberals have become too arrogant.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is going to resign. These twits will just blow more money away on the wrong transit system and you will end up paying for it for the rest of your life.
We should all move away.

Anonymous said...

Well, I've taken light rail transit in Calgary and Chicago, and I can't say I was terribly impressed by either one. The CTA trains in Chicago are loud, noisy, arrive relatively infrequently, and are staffed by drivers who either mumble or deliberately mispronounce station names. The Calgary system is relatively slow, and (ironically) has the same "honour" ticket purchase system used for Skytrain. Since the tracks of the Calgary system are on street level, train signals are required wherever the tracks cross a road. My wife and I had a hard time sleeping at a B&B located near one of those intersections because of the relentless, ear-splitting "DING DING DING DING DING" we were treated to throughout the night. Having lived near a Skytrain station for several years, and also having used it for several more, I can say I think Skytrain is a very fine system compared to these light rail systems I've been on. I'd much rather have a Skytrain-like system than LRT any day.

Anonymous said...

Never mind the best choice is light rail. Kevin has given the municipalities 'the finger' and told the mayors falc(on) you. The man's ego knows no bounds. I'm elected - therefore I'm right and never mind any other elected official, mayors or otherwise. And if I don't get my way Gordo will change the laws of the Province. What a way to govern.

Martino said...

To elevate the train and stop it from causing one accident at a crossing or one death, is money well spent.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty obvious that given that our current system is ALRT, and using LRT would require customer to make TWO transfers to get downtown, and the fact that ALRT provides a much faster trip, and we've already built the junction at Lougheed Town Centre, and building a standalone Evergreen Line would entail building yet another train yard that would not be compatible with ALRT, using ALRT (SkyTrain) is really a no brainer. Kudos to the new Council of Experts, clearly they're more capable of doing the right thing, unlike certain municipal politicians.

Anonymous said...

Three comments:

1) Chicago doesn't have LRT, it has metro and electric commuter trains.

2) The annual death rate on SkyTrain is about twice of that of Calgary's LRT.

3) The new unelected TransLink board, in opting for SkyTrain and its phony business case, should remember that no SkyTrain project has ever passed public scrutiny in the USA.