July 9, 2020

The Turning Point for Northwest Passenger Rail

From the CNN article "For American high-speed rail, 2020 could be a turning point":

High-speed rail advocates say that 2020 may be a turning point for US high-speed rail development, which has long lagged other developed nations....In the Pacific Northwest, a project to connect Portland, Seattle and Vancouver with one-hour trips, has drawn an investment from Microsoft to study the feasibility.

We support high-speed rail. We also need investment in "emerging high-speed rail" that can be implemented quickly on existing infrastructure.

The just-released state study of the feasibility of returning passenger rail service to the Yakima Valley and Stampede Pass shows that cross-state service is financially and technically feasible. This project will be an important component of the much-needed economic recovery, which will benefit both large and small population centers. The next steps will be to improve Cascades and cross-state service by increasing frequencies and upgrading the existing infrastructure and equipment to emerging high-speed rail standards. This will create an integrated, statewide network that will feed the planned "ultra-high-speed" rail network envisioned to serve the urban spine of Western Washington.

AAWA will discuss the new study, plus next steps for evaluating economic impacts, at our Central Washington Passenger Rail Summit on Saturday. Please join us.