In today’s lexicon of government deficit spending, ‘shovel ready’ has become the cliché of choice for politicians to fund their pet mega-projects. Evergreen Line, Gateway are all said to be shovel ready, yet much planning and design work must take place before the shovels are actually in the ground.
The Valley Interurban project is almost complete; the tracks are there; the vehicles are ready for hire and all what is needed is negotiations with the Southern Railway of BC and the Super Port railway folks for ‘pathways’ for the interurban service. No major engineering is needed. What must happen is track renewals, new signaling, simple bus-stop style station infrastructure and passing loops at strategic points. It is not an exaggeration to say that a basic 5 or 6 returns a day service could be up an running within 1 year and certainly a more intensive hourly or half hourly service could be in place within 2 years.
It is certain that the Valley Interurban project meets the current definition of ‘shovel ready’ but it seems it doesn’t meet the politicians desire for building grand metro and highway projects which more and more look like pre-election monument building than building affordable and sustainable transportation infrastructure for the region.