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LETTER: Interurban ideas based on nostalgia not modern passenger needs

Fraser Valley Regional District needs to be included in the planning, a Langley man contends.

Dear Editor;

The proposal to make use of the old interurban rail lines for public transportation deserves a serious look. But the current leaders of the initiative are not taking a constructive approach. They are peddling a romantic vision of transporting us back to the first half of the last century and employing populist tactics of bashing the establishment in the form of Metro Vancouver’s transportation planning structure to gain support.

Since the B.C. government granted the Greater Vancouver Regional District semi-autonomous powers to plan and implement an integrated regional transportation plan, they have done a pretty good job. Despite having to bring together 23 diverse communities, a First Nation and UBC, they have successfully developed a vision to accommodate future growth in Metro Vancouver; They are piloting many innovative ways of improving the system. They have won many awards for the efficiency of their public transit system. And they have leveraged billions of dollars from the federal and provincial governments.

A more constructive approach for folks in the Fraser Valley would be to lobby the B.C. government to set up a similar structure for the Fraser Valley Regional District. A plan developed by leaders from all the communities in the district, linked up to Metro Vancouver with proper independent analysis of options would have much greater chance of being funded. The plan could likely include use of some sections of the old line where practical and in line with the needs of the 21st century.

Bill Masse, Langley

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