The provincial government has committed to a six-month investigation into the E&N corridor as a means of transportation on the Island, including between downtown Victoria and West Shore communities.
In response to a letter signed by the 13 mayors of the Capital Regional District on Feb. 6, which urged the province to immediately take steps to reinstate transportation services along the E&N corridor, Premier John Horgan committed to an in-depth assessment into the corridor.
The assessment will cover the full length of the corridor to determine costs, safety requirements, seismic risk assessments and rock fall review.
“The assessment will encompass a high-level identification of infrastructure requirements and cost upgrades needed to allow the operation of a commuter rail from Langford to Victoria,” the letter reads.
The assessment would also help determine the speed at which a potential rail service could travel, which would better help the province decide if it’s a worthwhile endeavour.
“This technical work is moving forward imminently, and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure anticipates the assessment will take six months,” Horgan said.
Significant negotiations and partnerships would need to happen between local First Nations, the Island Corridor Foundation and the provincial government for a rail line to go through.
In the meantime, Horgan noted that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is currently designing more rapid transit lanes heading southbound from the Burnside Bridges to Tolmie Avenue.
The province, First Nations, municipal leaders and members of the Island Corridor Foundation last met to discuss the E&N corridor on Dec. 10.
At the time, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps told Black Press that if all goes well, she hopes to see something in place by 2022.