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Letter: Spend some money on rail trail

Why wouldn’t we want to fund the development of alternative transportation systems with tax money

To the editor:

In the recent article about the construction of the Okanagan Rail Trail project, Andrew Gibbs stated that none of the municipalities are putting taxpayer money into the construction of the trail. I’m trying to understand if this is an apology or a point of pride.

The rail trail is a link in our transportation system not a recreational extra. There are businesses all along the route, with a university and an airport a short ride away. Why would we not put tax money into it? We are putting massive sums of money into the expansion of Highway 97, while everyone knows that it won’t ease congestion. We didn’t fundraise for that futile exercise because no one would donate. Why wouldn’t we want to fund the development of alternative transportation systems with tax money?

According to all the evidence-based research I have seen (and it’s easy to find) building more, bigger roads, brings more cars. It never eases congestion, despite the dishonest message to the contrary that we are getting from politicians. So if we can accommodate the people who could ride, walk or bus to their destination, there would be more room on the roads for visitors without destroying our land any further. We can change who is in the cars, but we can’t stop congestion. The Okanagan Rail Trail should be built with tax money. Cycling is healthy, environmentally responsible transportation, and it’s possible for 10 months of the year in this climate. Why wouldn’t we want to do this?

Neil Cadger, Kelowna

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