A mockup of a high-speed train in California.

Too early to talk B.C. funding for high speed Vancouver-Seattle rail: Stone

Washington state is proposing a $1 million study

The province is letting Washington State take the lead on high speed rail between Vancouver and Seattle.

“It’s far too premature at this point to talk about any financial commitment from the province,” Transportation Minister Todd Stone told reporters in Victoria Tuesday.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed a $1-million high speed rail feasibility study in the state’s 2017-2019 budget to connect Vancouver and Portland with stops in Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, SeaTac, Tacoma, Olympia, and Vancouver, WA.

Microsoft President Brad Smith has lauded the project in the past, saying that it offers a unique opportunity to connect the tech sectors along the Cascadia (Pacific Northwest) corridor.

A Boston Consulting Group report released in September said the lack of connectivity between the tech sectors in Vancouver and Seattle harms both cities. Nearly nine million people are expected to live in the Lower Mainland and Puget Sound regions by 2040.

While the idea of high speed transit has come up in the past, UBC Sauder School of Business Prof. Marc-David Seidel sees it as absolutely critical now.

“The Vancouver-Seattle-Portland and even northern California is an essence one large ecosystem,” he said.

“Things are becoming more and more intertwined and it’s making more sense to connect the regions.”

Currently, transit by Amtrak takes four hours between Vancouver and Seattle. That’s too long, Seidel said, not only for the tech sector but for tourism as well.

Destination BC spokesperson Clare Mason said that the organization is in favour of anything that makes cross border travel between the U.S. and Canada easier.

“The U.S. is our biggest international market,” she said.

“Between January and November 2016, visitation from the US rose 9.4% over the same period in 2015, and we expect these numbers to continue to grow.”

But it’s not all good news from south of the border.

With the current climate in the U.S., Seidel said that border issues and talk of renegotiating NAFTA could become a roadblock for the project.

There’s also the need for new rail lines to be built to accommodate the high speed trains.

According to the working paper on Cascadia High-Speed Rail Opportunity by WSP and Parsons Brinckerhoff, the goal of less than one hour between Seattle and Vancouver can’t be achieved on the current passenger rail route.

“The route is slow and filled with freight trains,” said the report.

It envisions the high-speed trains travelling over 320 kilometres per hour to get passengers across the 193 kilometres between Vancouver and Seattle and run every 10-15 minutes on two tracks, the report said. The electric train would require a 50- to 100-foot right-of-way and need a mostly straight track to reach max speeds – costs for infrastructure would reach the tens of billions, according to the report.

Premier Christy Clark and Inslee signed an agreement in fall 2016 committing the two governments to working together in areas including trade, research, transportation and education.

 

 

 

@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: One injured in shooting on South Surrey-Langley border

Shots reported near 194 Street and 34 Avenue, burned-out vehicle found in 18100-block of 12 Avenue

Mother-daughter charged in 2017 torched-SUV killing in South Surrey now allowed contact

Judge grants Manjit Kaur Deo permission to connect with Inderdeep Kaur Deo through a lawyer

White Rock acupuncturist suspended for ‘scare tactics, excessive fees’

30-day suspension for Jun Hua (Davy) Hua issued Aug. 18

Man sought in connection with ‘suspicious occurrence’ in South Surrey

Police asking the public’s help to identify man who may have information on Aug. 4 incident

Surrey school district student enrolment down from projections

‘That’s not something I can say in my time in Surrey, I have ever said at the board table’: superintendent

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Machine pistol among 14 firearms seized from Alaska man at B.C. border crossing

Corey Scott Kettering faces charges of smuggling and prohibited firearm possession

Most Read