The Province of B.C. has committed to work with the Island Corridor Foundation and First Nations to do an assessment of the E&N rail corridor, which encompasses an area that includes Victoria, Courtenay and Nanaimo. (File photo)

Studies for E&N corridor still on track after BC Transit investments

Recent investment in bus fleet expansion doesn’t slow studies into alternative transportation routes

New funding for the BC Transit fleet doesn’t dissuade the provincial government from further considering the E&N corridor as a transportation option.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan announced $79 million in shared funding with local municipalities for the purchase of 118 new BC Transit buses across the province.

“A strong public transit system is essential to making B.C. communities more affordable for the people who live in them, and to greening our transportation systems,” Horgan said. “Through this investment, we can meet rising transit demand, attract new transit riders, and put public transit in B.C. on a solid road toward a green future.”

ALSO READ: Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

The fleet increase will not put pause on further considerations of other means of transportation, however, including investigations into utilizing the E&N corridor between downtown Victoria and the West Shore communities.

In February the province announced a six-month study into the corridor in response to a letter penned by all 13 mayors of the Greater Victoria municipalities.

These investigations will happen as a part of the South Island Transportation Strategy.

“The South Island Transportation Strategy will include a look at the E&N corridor, and will take into consideration critical information coming from a track and bridge assessment,” said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in an emailed statement.

“It will also look to future population trends and growth patterns. This important data will help shape the discussion around the future of the E&N corridor.”

ALSO READ: Province commits to six-month investigation of E&N corridor

At the end of April the province also announced that part of the strategy would be a study on transportation on the Island, looking as far up the island as Duncan and as far west as Sooke.

“I know people are frustrated with congestion and we want to find solutions that will get people moving,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure in a released statement linked to the study. “I’m anticipating that this will lead to a comprehensive regional plan for all types of transportation.”

No timeline into decisions has been announced in relation to these studies.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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