Microsoft hosted a meeting with the U.S High-Speed Rail Association at the Cascadia Rail Summit. Advocates are proposing a link by bullet train between Portland, Seattle, to Vancouver Canada, which would take one hour of travel time.
The plans for a high-speed rail link between the United States and Canada made some progress this Thursday — despite meeting the passage of Washington Initiative 976 on November 5. The newest initiative will limit annual license fees for vehicles under 10,000 pounds at $30 and has thus been dubbed the $30 tab initiative by supporters.
The idea of creating a high-speed rail link was born not just for the sake of consumer convenience, but as a matter of necessity due to America’s expansion and fast-growing population. Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Roger Millar explained.
“As we regroup here in Washington state and think about investing $50 billion in ultra-high-speed rail do you think we’ll ever get to a place where highway expansion keeps up with economic expansion and population? It will not happen. It cannot happen.”
Millar compared the bullet train project with the costs of creating an additional lane in each direction from Oregon and Canada and noted that it would cost $108 billion dollars.
The project received endorsement from Senator Marko Liias, who was in attendance.
“We’re going to rely on new tools like public-private partnerships, inter-jurisdictional cooperation with the B.C. government, maybe with the Canadian federal government.” Liias added that the passage of Initiative 976 would not affect the viability of the high-speed rail link.
The governments of Oregon, British Columbia, and Microsoft are currently cooperating on governance and financing options for how the rail link could go ahead.