Could high-speed rail linking Portland, Seattle and Vancouver become a reality?
Imagine a one-hour commute from Vancouver to Seattle. It’s an idea that has been talked about for years and it may finally be gaining momentum.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has allocated $1 million USD to study the possibility of a high-speed rail line that would connect Vancouver, Seattle and Portland, Ore.
Building stops in Bellingham, Everett, SeaTac Airport, Tacoma, Olympia, and Vancouver, Wash. will also be looked at in the study. It will also explore the option to connect with “a similar system in the state of California.”
The U.S.’s high-speed rail authority has mapped out a possible route that would follow the I-5 to Highway 99 in B.C. and terminate near Vancouver International Airport in Richmond or near a SkyTrain station in Surrey.
WATCH: High-speed rail between Seattle and Vancouver?
“The track between Seattle and here is in pretty good shape,” said Patrick Condon of UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability. “It’s almost high-speed worthy right now so Canada is kind of lucky because we’ve only got a few kilometres from the border to get to whatever station we decide to terminate it in.”
“The number of people that move back and forth through this corridor – particularly in the tech sector but other sectors as well – is enormous and it’s growing rapidly so anything we can do to better facilitate that movement of people is something we’re going to take a serious look at,” B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone said.
Pachal said that he can see the day when high-speed rail between the cities becomes a reality, but “it’s not going to be in the next decade.”
“If there’s the political will, it could get built,” he added.
– With files from Ted Chernecki