Saturday, March 31, 2012

The E&N - is there Fed money or not?

The province has promised $7.5 million but there is no word from the Feds.   We will not know the details within the federal budget for sometime.   Even if the money comes, is it enough to make any difference?

$15,000,000 is not a lot of money for repairs on the rail line.   The Island Corridor Foundation says they have a plan for the money, but are the numbers firm or ball park estimates?

From the ICF website:

With the professional services of SVI, the ICF developed a $15 million infrastructure plan and improved VIA Rail passenger schedule as phase I of improving rail service and building demand. The plan was released in October 2010 and submitted to the federal and provincial governments. 
$10,565,000 would replace approximately 104,000 ties and 974 switch ties; $2,364,000 for ballast, lift (average 2”), tamp, re-line, regulate and trim complete Victoria subdivision, and Wellcox spur; $920,000 for removal and replacement of full toe joint bars with good relay toeless style bars complete with new track bolts, nuts and heavy spring washers; $651,000 bridge re-decking and $500,000 for an engineering inspection and assessment of 48 railway bridges between Victoria and Courtenay.
It looks nice, but what happens if the numbers are off?   Where does more money come from?  The ICF belongs to local governments and First Nations but the public does not have any chance to see any detailed financial reporting.   From what is on their website, I can only guess what the financial picture is really like.  What I can glean is that the ICF is not getting a lot of un restricted contributions from the public, only just over $5,000 in 2010.  Most of the donations have been from CP Rail.  

2011 had projected revenues of $625,000 and expenditures of $520,000, but $250,000 of revenues in 2011 are dollars not spent in past years.

Without more money, the plans to rebuild really can not go anywhere which means no new passenger service.  VIA seems to be on board with a new three car train and a different schedule but nothing starts without the rail line being repaired.
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