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Report Makes Business Case for Vancouver-to-Portland High Speed Rail
The state of Washington released a report on economic impacts of a proposed high-speed rail (HSR) line connecting Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland. The report estimated that the line could bring 160,000 jobs to the Cascadia region and more than 350 billion new dollars in economic activity. "Drastically cutting travel time between the cities would also have the knock-on effect of drawing more companies to the region, which the report from the Washington State Department of Transportation argues would generate hundreds of billions of dollars in economic growth," Tyler Orton writes for Business in Vancouver. The new service could also curb emissions if it could tempt car and air commuters to use the train. The report estimates the project would eliminate 6 million tons of carbon emissions.
The planned train would travel at just under 200 miles per hour and be faster than any train service currently operating in the United States. Still, the Cascadia HSR is in the early planning phase. The proposed train does not currently have a route, and past attempts at HSR in the United States have failed to reach the speeds initially touted by boosters.
Even so, the report funded by the governments of British Colombia, Washington, Oregon, and the Microsoft Company does achieve a positive effect for the project. In 2017, the cost of the project was estimated to fall between $24 billion and 42 billion. The report says that estimate is still feasible.