[UPDATE: In one of my more egregious posting errors, I failed to properly read the blockquote, which includes the feds, therefore defeating the whole thesis of the post. I suppose it didn't really matter, because you all just wanted an excuse to argue more about this issue anyway.]
It’s odd to be arguing on behalf of the Canadian Federal Government, and I suppose I’m editorializing about the use of taxes I don’t pay,
but I don’t think this factoid makes the point the writer thinks it makes:
The economic benefit to British Columbia in its first year of operation is estimated at $11.8 million…
Is Ottawa so short-sighted that it cannot see the idiocy of putting this service in jeopardy in order to collect $550,000 a year? A recent study by the Border Policy Research Institute of Western Washington University in Bellingham determined that Canada’s federal, provincial and municipal governments collect an extra $1.9 million in sales taxes and hotel room taxes from the additional tourists the second train delivers.
If the study is correct, then funding the border inspection is absolutely a positive-sum enterprise for the public sector.
The issue, though, is that the governments that benefit are not the ones that are laying out the cash.
[update: the editorial is right.]
To me, it seems straightforward enough that “provincial and municipal governments” should turn a 300% profit by coughing up the money themselves. That’s not to say the federal government shouldn’t be subsidizing passenger rail more than it is, but in the absence of that subsidy replacing it with a local one should be a no-brainer.