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View from the Cordillera

A Commentary on Achieving Excellence in Local Government
Read by Municipal Leaders on 4 Continents
Published by the Cordillera Institute
(Vol. 4, Issue 10)
Restoring Our Disappearing Rail Services (part 4)
To order the full text of this commentary or to become a subscriber, see the notes below.

Summary of This Commentary
In the previous commentary (part 3 in this series), we reviewed a market-based solution for levelling the playing field in the competition between rail and road for our transportation dollars.  In this commentary, we turn our attention to the competition between rail and air transportation.  If we are going to level the playing field for air and rail, how should our air-support infrastructure (including airports, air-security systems, and air-traffic-control systems) be organized?  What problems has the current monopoly structure caused?  How should the shortage of air-support infrastructure be addressed?  What about flight delays and cancellations?  How can we end taxpayer subsidization of airports and the air carriers they serve?  How can we maximize user-pay ratings?  How can we do the same for air security and air-traffic control?  If the reforms outlined in this series are implemented, rail should be able to compete on a more or less equal footing with its road-based and airborne competitors.  And, that will surely improve the overall efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of our transportation systems.  But, outlining a path to success is just the beginning.  Whatever happened to the Huron Central Railway (the proposed line closure that sparked this series)?  What is the biggest challenge for rail?  What can local governments do?  If our local governments take the lead, our children and our grandchildren could be riding the rails again — without taking a dime from taxpayers.  However, if we continue to shake the senior-government money tree — if we keep forcing our neighbors and total strangers to pay for what we could be doing for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren may not be riding the rails.  Instead, they may be riding the skids to a 3rd-world future.  It all depends on the choices we make today.

As always, we welcome your comments.

David Barber
Director
Cordillera Institute
(416) 293-9300
CordInst@istar.ca
http://pages.istar.ca/~cordinst/



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About This Publication
Each issue of View from the Cordillera covers some aspect of excellence in local government.  It may examine one of the success elements; it may present a case study; it may introduce a resource (an individual, a group, a publication, etc.) which is advancing excellence; it may advocate a new direction for local government; or it may identify a wrong turn in public policy and offer an appropriate remedy.  This electronic publication is read by those who govern, manage, support, and sustain our local governments.  For more information, just click on the About VFC button below.

About the Cordillera Institute
The Cordillera Institute is an independent research and public policy organization dedicated to excellence in local government.  Since our founding in 1994, we have studied many high-performance organizations to learn what makes them successful.  From this research, we have distilled a set of principles, paradigms, policies, programs, and practices which are the key elements of their success.  Our mission is to be a catalyst — to empower municipalities, school boards, public utilities, and other local public agencies to achieve excellence by adopting and applying these success elements.  For more information, just click on the About CI button below.

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