Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Washington State to receive more than half a billion in federal dollars for high-speed rail

Hurrah! This is great news for our region:
Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that $590 million in federal funding will go to Washington state for high speed rail upgrades in the Pacific Northwest Cascades corridor.

The funding is part of a major high speed rail initiative that Senator Murray helped include in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Since the Pacific Northwest was named one of the 10 potential regions to receive funds for high speed rail in April 2009, Senator Murray has worked with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to build support for states like Washington where the groundwork for high speed rail lines has been underway through previous state and federal investments and where improvements would help provide an alternative to congested roadways and spur economic activity.

Secretary LaHood called Senator Murray yesterday to inform her that Washington would be among the state’s receiving high speed rail funding.
We're thrilled by this news, and we share Senator Murray's excitement for improving rail service throughout Western Washington and Western Oregon. Doing so will make Amtrak Cascades (and the Coast Starlight, which goes all the way down the Left Coast to Los Angeles) more attractive to commuters and travelers journeying between many of the Pacific Northwest's major cities.

It's about time that we started putting serious money into high-speed rail, instead of wasting it on highway widening, which only encourages more people to drive and does not provide an alternative to traffic.


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