Earlier this week, the province of British Columbia committed $300,000 to a feasibility study of an ultra-high-speed ground transportation (UHSGT) system connecting Vancouver, Seattle and Portland. This funding is in addition to the $4 million previously allocated to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for the study.

WSDOT is taking the lead on this study, which will determine the next phase of work for the project. WSDOT is working in coordination with a Policy Committee and consultant support to do the following:

  • Developing an organizational framework
  • Developing a public engagement approach
  • Preparing and applying for potential future federal, state, and provincial funding opportunities
  • Beginning work on scenario analysis
  • Recommending the structure and membership of a formal coordinating entity

A report will be submitted to the Governor and Legislature by June 30, 2023.

In addition to the funding set aside for this analysis by the Washington legislature in March, they also set aside $150 million to be used as matching funds to leverage federal funding opportunities over the next six years. This could allow Washington to seek out federal grants that could total around $700 million, allowing the required planning work to move forward.

There’s a lot of excitement for this project throughout the Cascadia region. High-profile support includes Microsoft, Challenge Seattle, and many elected officials backing the project. A recent poll also revealed overwhelming support from the general population, with 67% of Washingtonians and 60% of Oregonians saying they support connecting the major cities of the region with high-speed rail.

If you want to learn more about this project, please join us for a free webinar with WSDOT on September 30th. You’ll hear about the project’s progress, engagement process with stakeholders, and get a preview of the way forward for high-speed rail in the Pacific Northwest.

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