To the editor:
Over the past several weeks, news of Greyhound Bus lines reducing service in the northern and central parts of the province has made people rethink how we get around.
Now, there is talk of transit people in the Lower Mainland speaking about raising subsidies for public transit by tapping into the carbon tax.
I wonder if our political parties might consider something for the people of the north and central part of the province.
For instance, why can we not have passenger train service from Fort Nelson and Prince Rupert through to Vancouver?
In my opinion, it was a major mistake to remove passenger service from our BC rail system and it is time to correct that mistake. With the rising cost of energy, road travel from the far flung reaches of the province is increasingly prohibitive.
On the basis of passenger miles, I doubt there is any land transport more efficient than rail. From a climate standpoint, the reduction in vehicle travel would be beneficial.
Of course, it would have to be subsidized, at least in the beginning, to ensure the cost of a ticket was less than the cost of fuel to get from A to B. I would see the carbon tax as the proper place to find the money.
As far as I know, the Interior derives no benefit from the carbon tax we pour into the provincial coffer.
In addition, I believe the province needs to tax escaping methane from the oil and gas structures in the province. Every drilling rig and producing well should have devices to measure the escaping methane and be taxed on that gas.
In fact, as methane is twice as lethal to the climate as carbon dioxide, it should be taxed at twice the rate of carbon. The producers can avoid the tax by re-injecting the methane back into the ground. Failing that, they pay the tax and we get passenger rail service across the province.
If you think this idea has any merit, write your favourite politicians and suggest they at least debate the possibility.
108 Mile Ranch