The state of Washington will create a project team for the Vancouver-Seattle high-speed train


The Washington State government is the main supporter of the high-speed railroad linking Seattle with Vancouver in the north and Portland to the south.

And now, it has taken another step that shows quite seriously about a trilateral, multi-billion dollar effort: The creation of a state-funded project office that will lead coordination and initial planning.

Last week, a bill was introduced to allocate US $ 3.25 million to "high-speed land transportation corridor authorities" that would involve the government of British Columbia, Washington State, and Oregon.

"Development of corridor authorities must strengthen regional collaboration and analyze and develop bistate and binary structures that address, but are not limited to: Very high-speed corridor governance, general strength, operating structure, legal instruments, and contract requirements," bills sound.

The new project office will conduct "strong" public consultations and preliminary environmental reviews, and develop recommendations to establish the next steps of the high-speed rail line imaginable. This future team will be asked to build on findings from the 2018 business case analysis and other preliminary studies.

Because this is a "very high-speed" railroad line, trains are intended to travel up to 402 km / h, potentially connecting Vancouver and Seattle in just one hour, by stopping in other communities in between.

At the end of June 2020, the corridor authorities will return to the executive and legislative branches of each government that participates with current legal assessments in all three jurisdictions and identify laws, regulations or agreements that need to be modified or ratified so as to develop very high-speed rail corridors. A summary of the results of the public consultation process is also needed at this time.

The Washington state analysis previously completed at the end of 2017 found that a very high-speed rail line connecting Vancouver, Seattle and Portland could cost between USD $ 24 billion and USD $ 42 billion, if construction began in 2025 to be completed by 2035. That would attractive to 2.1 million annual drivers at opening, growing to 3.3 million per year by 2055.

A recent study states that around 50% of passengers will come from the Portland-Seattle section of the route while Vancouver-Seattle will make 25% of the total, with the remaining station pairs making up 25% of passengers.

This is based on ultra-high-speed high-speed rail lines, and trains run 12 times round trip every day, stopping at seven stations between Metro Vancouver and the Seattle area. Each train can accommodate up to 500 passengers.

The total benefits of construction and operation work, increased travel options for users, and agglomeration economic effects are expected to produce anywhere from an average of 157,200 to 201,200 jobs per year, $ 242 billion to $ 316 billion in labor income, $ 621 billion up to $ 827 billion in business output, and $ 308 billion to $ 399 billion in added value during the decade of the construction period and the first 21 years of operation.

In March 2018, BC Prime Minister John Horgan announced a contribution of CAD $ 300,000 to high-speed railroad studies, and similar commitments were made by the state of Oregon soon after. Both commitments add $ 1.2 million in USD that was made by Washington Governor Jay Inslee to the cost of deeper analysis.

To date, Inslee has been responsible for many of the project's initial momentum.

Microsoft also provides funds to help support the costs of determining the economic benefits of railroad infrastructure projects.

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Kenneth Chan

Editor of National Features in the Daily Hive, evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban problems, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also one of the founders of Vancouver New Year's Eve. Connect with him at Kenneth[at]


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