Pacific Northwest officials begin push for 'ultra' high speed rail

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SEATTLE — The topic of high-speed rail for the Vancouver, B.C.-Seattle-Portland, Ore., corridor continues to generate interest in the region.

Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia are cooperating on a study of routes, stations, equipment, and costs of a high-speed rail system operating at up to 250 miles per hour. Microsoft is also funding the study, to be delivered this year, which is a follow-up to an earlier preliminary study from Washington’s Department of Transportation into conventional high-speed rail as well as maglev and hyperloops. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown made high-speed rail one of her seven long-range transportation goals in a presentation last year.

In the latest development, the transportation budget (Senate Bill 5214, House Bill 1160) submitted to the Washington Legislature for the 2019-2020 biennium includes a $3.25 million allocation to establish a “new ultra high-speed ground transportation corridor authority with participation from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.” "Ultra high-speed" is defined as 250 miles per hour.

The corridor authority will be responsible for such tasks as conducting outreach and preliminary environmental review, including “a robust community engagement process to refine the alignment for communities and businesses relevant to the ultra high-speed corridor” Portland and Vancouver, B.C.

The state Department of Transportation is required to provide a report to the governor and the Legislature “an assessment of current laws in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia related to an ultra high-speed ground transportation corridor, [and to] identify any laws, regulations or agreements that need to be modified or passed in order to proceed with developing an ultra high-speed corridor, and summarize the results from the community engagement process.”

Washington’s current 105-day legislative session is scheduled to end April 28.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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