Cascadia High-Speed Rail Corridor Seeking Federal Funding

The state of Washington is hoping federal infrastructure funding can pay for $198 million of the $348 million necessary to plan the Cascadia High-Speed Rail project.

1 minute read

August 23, 2023, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Legislators in the state of Washington are applying for $198 million in federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act to fund planning work for a proposed 290-mile high-speed rail route connecting Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia, with stops along the way including Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, and more.

Mike Lindblom reports that Washington State legislators sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg making the case for the funding.

Plans call for an electric-powered system that would reach top speeds of 250 miles per hour, according to Lindblom. “The Cascadia high-speed corridor would be faster than any trains that currently operate in the United States, though contractors are now building a starter bullet-train line in central California,” according to Lindblom.

The project is still in relatively nascent stages. “So far, proponents haven’t clearly explained where to place dedicated tracks so they’re apart from other trains, motor vehicles and people, allowing 250 mph travel. That’s what a $348 million planning investment is for,” explains Lindblom.

A report on the project, submitted to the Washington State Legislature in June 2023, estimates the total cost of the project at $42 billion in 2017 dollars. However, an independent legislative review also published in June adjusted the estimate to $63 billion in 2023 dollars, based on construction inflation.

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