Re: ‘Island communities want ICF rail review,’ story (The NEWS, April 19).
I find the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities’ motion to “conduct a financial and governance review of the ICF” to be in direct conflict with the second motion that day, “to petition the federal government to release the $7.5 million … it has promised to upgrade the tracks.”
The ICF structure and operating questions must be kept separate from the rail funding issue. At the heart of the ICF fiasco is the ongoing debate over the real cost to bring the existing E&N tracks and trestles up to Via Rail safety standards.
With no detailed cost analysis or ongoing operating plan, such as would be provided in a normal business prospectus, the estimates range from $20-$80 million, depending on the train track destination and shadow of the moon.
Given this scenario, why would anyone urge the federal government to release the $7.5 million now, before the results of the requested review are known and with the knowledge that at least one ICF partner (RDN) has already withdrawn its near $1 million commitment?
Until a realistic, transparent and detailed cost proposal for resurrection and ongoing operation of the existing rail line is provided to the public, this project will remain as a Phantom Train Trip to Oblivion.