BC, Washington State to make high-speed rail announcement Friday

Mar 16 2018, 3:27 am

The vision of a high-speed rail line connecting the Pacific Northwest’s three largest urban regions – Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland –  continues to gain even more momentum, after the BC government said it will be making a joint announcement with Washington State on Friday afternoon.

Premier John Horgan will be joined by Washington State Govenor. Jay Inslee to make an announcement regarding ultra-high-speed corridor service connecting Vancouver with Seattle, Wash. and Portland, Ore, the government said in a release.

The announcement is expected to be made at 12:45 pm.

Funding for study

Last week, Washington State’s legislature approved a further US$1.2 million in funding to proceed with another study on the project that will examine its business case. The study will involve representatives from communities and stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including BC and Oregon.

This follows a study last year, initiated by the state government, that did a preliminary analysis of the possible routes, station locations, and costs. High-speed rail and magnetic levitation were considered for the trans-border train service.

Such a project could cost between US$24 billion and US$42 billion based on early estimates and see 2.1 million annual riders upon opening in 2033.

Advocacy groups

Interest in a the project has spurred the creation of Cascadia Rail, a new advocacy group that plans to mobilize support across the Pacific Northwest.

The group, launched last month, says more infrastructure is needed to support the growing population across the Cascadia region. If done properly the group believes there could be benefits such as shorter commutes, enforcing the region’s global cities as a place for  business, tourism generation, commercial and residential development, and environmental sustainability.

Cascadia Rail

Map detailing the vision for high-speed rail in the Pacific Northwest. (Cascadia Rail)

“Every time a mom or a dad spends ninety minutes on a 35 mile commute between Tacoma & Seattle, or 5 hours just to get to Portland, we know something is wrong. WE. DESERVE. FASTER. Our quality of life, and of our children’s lives, depends on it,” reads their launch announcement on Seattle Transit Blog.

With files from Kenneth Chan

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