Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hooray for Infrastructure!

As promised, a post on infrastructure. There is a lot of talk today about how pointless the federal government is. The argument is that the provinces and municipalities provide most of the essential services and yet the feds collect most of the money. Well, here it is folks, what the feds could do with all that money that is distinctly their responsibility. Infrastructure was what united this country in the first place. The railroad built this country in a whole slew of ways. The railroad is also the future of this country. This country desperately needs cheap, fast train services. In particular, this is necessary in major corridors. Two immediately come to mind. First, the place where a huge number of Canadians live, the Windsor-Quebec City corridor. Why is it that the best way to get from Toronto-Ottawa is by car? Planes are expensive and you have to spend hours getting to and going through security at the airport. The current trains are not much faster than a car (particularly if you exceed the speed limit) and are ridiculously overpriced. Imagine if you could make the trip from Toronto-Ottawa in about 2 hours. This is possible. It is done all over Europe. There are high speed trains that go well over 200 km/h. Now, I have heard that the Canadian climate could be a problem. However, I believe that this is an obstacle that can be overcome. The higher speed would also knock down the costs of running the trains (or at very least offset any increase in the cost of operating the faster trains) because you would be paying for fewer hours of labour. Not only do we need fast trains but we need train service in more places. The Calgary-Edmonton-Fort McMurray corridor would be a prime target for trains. Kitchener-Waterloo needs to be train accessible as well. Fast trains would reduce traffic congestion, reduce pollution and increase productivity (less hours spent traveling is a good for business).

The second major infrastructure the feds could make is in our airports. If you want to make sure Canada is open to business in a globalized era, you must reduce the ridiculous landing fees which exist at Canadian airports. By making a larger contribution to the upkeep and expansion of our airports, the federal government would make travel cheaper for Canadians and Canada more competitive.

Is there more? Of course. Our population has outgrown our network of highways. Many of our existing roads and bridges need repair. These are all matters that the federal government can help in. It is time for us to invest in infrastructure.

1 comment:

s.j.simon said...

:) You know, the swiss were very late to lay rail tracks. check this out

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