B.C. government jumping on board high speed rail case study
The B.C. government is hitching a ride with the state of Washington to conduct a business study to look at high speed rail service between Vancouver and Seattle. The $300,000 investment would look at whether the project would be doable for British Columbua.
“Washington state has already conducted significant research between Seattle and Portland,” said Horgan. “We are going to engage in conversations with people along the corridor and what that corridor may include has still not been concluded.”
Politicians and business leaders have long discussed a high speed rail corridor that would link up the three major cities in Cascadia and provide travellers with a one-to-two train trip between Vancouver and Seattle. The train could be capable of travelling up to 400 kilometres an hour and would encourage drivers to get off the road.
“The convenience of a one-hour trip between Vancouver and Seattle would create countless opportunities for people in both B.C. and Washington, from sports or concert getaways for families, to untold economic growth potential for businesses,” said Horgan.
There are proposed stations along the route in Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, SeaTac, Tacoma, Olympia, Vancouver, Wash. and Portland.
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British Columbia’s investment is small compared to the US$1.2 million that Washington state committed to conduct it’s business case. There are also questions lingering about a still-unfinished rail line in California. The project is partially built, millions of dollars over budget and behind schedule.
“We are anxious to participate in a business case analysis to get to some of the answers,” said Horgan. “I was recently in Asia, in China and Japan and high speed rail there, there is a museum because it has been in place for so long there. There are opportunities to learn from best practices.”
A December study into the proposed line found it could cost as much as $42 billion. But an economic analysis released by Washington state in February found the link could create 200,000 jobs for U.S. and Canadian workers and generate billions of dollars in economic benefits.
“When you build a high speed rail line, you are building a monument to optimism,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “We are optimistic about the technology that is now allowing this facility to blossom.”
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