Cascadia High-Speed Rail Receives Critical Support

Cascadia Ultra High-Speed Rail Project Receives Critical Support

This week, Democrats in Washington’s congressional delegation signed a letter to Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, supporting federal funding to advance the Cascadia Ultra High-Speed Rail project. This would be a transformative project for the region, a state-of-the-art high-speed line running at 250 mph from Portland to Vancouver, via Seattle.

The federal funding could be awarded under the Federal-State Partnership grant program, as Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) submitted an application in April 2023. They are requesting $198 million to support pre-NEPA technical and advisory studies, which are necessary before the project can move to the design and construction phase. The state of Washington has already authorized state funds for high-speed rail, which could be leveraged as the local match for this grant, and future federal grants as the project moves forward.

We are excited to see state’s around the country pursue funding for high-speed rail. It’s important that advocates keep the pressure on Congress to meet this demand. You can help by asking your representatives to fully fund passenger rail in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget.

Read More:

WA Democrats Ask Buttigieg for $200M to Plan Canada-Seattle-Portland Bullet Train

Letter of Support for Cascadia HSR (PDF)

Northwest Region Overview (HSRA)

Washington State Legislators Make Pitch for High Speed Rail Funding


Hurdle to Overcome for Passenger Rail Projects

This week, Alliance executive director Rick Harnish attended the Midwest Rail Conference in Toledo.

At the conference, Henry Posner, the Chairman of the Railroad Development Corporation, which owns the Iowa Interstate Railroad, described one of the biggest hurdles to establishing high-frequency passenger rail in the United States. The issue revolves around liability in the case of accidents. Posner reminded the audience that a single accident has the potential to put the entire railroad company out of business. This is an issue that’s hardly talked about, but is something that Congress must take on in order for us to build an integrated passenger rail network across the country.

Any experts who are willing to help us better understand this issue, please reach out to us using our contact form.

CrossRail Chicago: Making High Speed Rail in America Possible

We recently released a new 4-minute video outlining our vision for building upon Amtrak’s Chicago Hub Improvement Program to create the foundation for a Midwest high-speed rail network, while also creating a modern, crosstown Metra regional rail service.

CrossRail will upgrade and connect several existing rail corridors to create electrified, high-capacity routes into and through Chicago. It will also expand Chicago Union Station as the hub of the nation’s passenger rail network. CrossRail can expand service to hundreds of cities and towns across the country.

The beauty of CrossRail is that all the major parts, the rail corridors and the stations, are already in place. Just a few key connections and upgrades are needed to pull everything together.

Early work is already underway, but Congress must fully fund the Federal Railroad Administration to turn this vision into reality.

Please check out the video and share it with your friends.

You can also sign the petition asking Congress to fund CrossRail Chicago.


A conceptual drawing of a CrossRail station at Fulton Market.
Illustration of conceptual CrossRail Chicago station in Bronzeville.

8/25 Webinar: Crossrail Chicago: The Foundation for a Modern Travel Network

Speaker: Rick Harnish, Executive Director, High Speed Rail Alliance

Time: Friday August 25, 12pm – 1pm CT

CrossRail Chicago is the Alliance’s proposal to connect and upgrade existing Metra lines to create an electrified, passenger-dedicated mainline through the city. This link would provide intercity train service to key locations in downtown, as well as O’Hare International Airport. CrossRail Chicago would span the metro area with high-capacity, passenger-focused rail lines, and form the core of a Midwest high-speed rail network. Alliance executive director Rick Harnish will explain CrossRail Chicago, and what needs to happen at the state and federal level to make it a reality.

Register Here

9/8 Webinar: The Benefits of Regional Rail

Speaker: Rick Harnish, Executive Director, High Speed Rail Alliance

Time: Friday September 8, 12pm – 1pm CT

Regional Rail means running frequent trains on memory schedules (such as every 15 minutes in major cities, and every two hours statewide) to serve many types of travelers—not just those commuting to and from downtown for work. This change is already catching on, and the Alliance has recently featured speakers on Regional Rail proposals for cities such as Boston and Chicago. In this talk, our executive director, Rick Harnish, will explain Regional Rail’s benefits and what is needed to succeed.

Register Here

Passengers are boarding a regional train at Gare de Paris Saint Lazare.
An Italian regional train is pulling into the Varenna station, people are preparing to board.

9/15 Webinar: Travel Demand Modeling for Passenger Rail

Speaker: Laura Shabe, Market Lead of Ports and Rail, Cambridge Systematics

Time: Friday September 15, 12pm – 1pm CT

Planning successful passenger-rail projects involves estimating travel demand and ridership, as well as analyzing potential benefits, such as the boost to local economies from travelers drawn by better service. We’ll hear about the complexities of this work from Laura Shabe, who serves as Market Leader for Cambridge Systematics. The firm’s range of products and services includes transportation planning, modeling and analytics, and software design and development.

Register Here

Social Media Manager Position

The High Speed Rail Alliance is seeking a motivated and creative individual to join our Ambassadors Committee as a volunteer Social Media Manager. In this role, you will play a critical role in supporting our organization’s efforts to promote and advocate for high-speed rail in the United States. This part-time, unpaid position offers an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience in social media management, content creation, and digital marketing within the transportation advocacy sector.

If you’re interested, please reach out using our contact form and put “Social Media Manager” in the subject line.

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