The Cape Breton rail issue has occupied much of TAA’s attention in recent months. Several volunteers have devoted many long hours to the cause, participating in community events and appearing at a public hearing in Sydney.
Although the passenger rail outlook has greatly improved in recent months, we have been relentless in our efforts to maintain the momentum. We believe that TAA has earned a measure of respect and credibility with the new management team at VIA Rail, and have had some very productive discussions with senior officers at the Crown corporation. Our upcoming AGM will give members an excellent opportunity to meet VIA’s new general manager for the region.
We’ve also been involved with the statutory review of the Canada Transportation Act that’s currently underway. Iain Dunlop and Michael Perry joined your president participating in a working session in Fredericton at the invitation of New Brunswick Transportation Minister Roger Melanson. Our input hopefully will form part of a joint submission from the four Atlantic transportation ministers. A key TAA recommendation was that the act should seek to maximize use of rail infrastructure to benefit all Canadians – in the safest possible manner. Meanwhile, TAA director Clark Morris took the initiative to submit a personal brief to the review panel. Information on the review process is available online at: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/ctareview2014/discussion-paper.html.
Communication has been ongoing with elected representatives on the federal, provincial and municipal levels, as we seek to strengthen our voice on the myriad transportation issues confronting our region. But the need to grow our membership base has never been more important. More volunteers are urgently needed to fuel our efforts at reaching out to the general public.
– Ted Bartlett