OLYMPIA, Wash. (KOIN) — A new in-depth study will look at the potential for one-hour trips from Vancouver, BC to Seattle and Portland — creating more opportunities for the three cities.
The study builds on a preliminary analysis conducted in 2017 for a new 250 mph transportation system in the Pacific Northwest. That study provided the groundwork for the evaluation WSDOT will work on over the next year.
The need for the study came from the ongoing Cascadia Innovation Corridor planning efforts. The coalition works together to “build a global hub of innovation and commerce.”
The Province of British Columbia, ODOT and Microsoft recently joined Washington in funding the efforts. The three partners announced Thursday that they were contributing a combined $750,000 toward the study in addition to the $750,000 the Washington State Legislature gave to WSDOT earlier.
“We developed a vision for a better connected Cascadia mega region that will help our talented entrepreneurs, researchers and workers share knowledge and expand economic opportunity,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said. “The possibilities created by connecting our three largest cities via high-speed transportation options are really exciting.”
Premier of British Columbia John Horgan said the possibility of a high-speed rail would bring huge benefits to British Columbia — adding that they’re excited to see the results of the new study.
Microsoft President Brad Smith also shared his excitement about the upcoming study.
“Shrinking the distance between Seattle, Vancouver, BC and Portland will encourage greater collaboration, deeper economic ties and balanced growth for years to come,” Smith said.
A new advisory committee, representing both public and private sectors from Washington, Oregon and BC, will provide input during the year-long technical analysis. The committee’s first meeting is schedule for sometime in July.