With an estimated thousand new vehicles clogging up roads on the West Shore each year, everyone agrees gridlock is a major issue but the wait for solutions continues.
Last year, the former Liberal government promised a working group would tackle options for building a commuter link along the E&N railway corridor linking Langford and Victoria.
But a change in government brought a change of plans and that promise was put on hold.
Now Transportation Minister Claire Trevena tells Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps that restarting rail on the corridor may not be the quickest way to address to the gridlock problem.
“We are continuing to look at the E&N corridor between Langford and Victoria as a possible way to improve transportation in the region,” writes Trevena to Helps in a letter to dated Jan. 25.
“However, this work is complex and restarting rail on this corridor may not be the quickest way to address the gridlock that we see today.”
She goes on to say that NDP MLA Mitzi Dean will lead consultations with local First Nations and municipal partners.
“In the interim, we are accelerating the implementation of bus lanes along the Trans-Canada Highway to help provide immediate relief to the current gridlock,” Trevena adds.
Last year, Trevena defended the decision to scrap the working group set up by the Liberal government in the days before the last provincial election.
” What the previous government did was shortsighted, just ahead of the last election obviously trying to win them brownie points. What we want to do is make sure we get something viable for the E&N including the participation of all the stakeholders,” Trevena said in November.
But the need for a solution is clear, as the West Shore continues to expand the daily gridlock passing through the city is only getting worse.
The debate over how to build a new commuter link between the West Shore and Victoria has been going on for years.
” This is getting to the point now where there has been a lot of talk and we now need to have a solution,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young last fall.