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High-speed rail to Washington right on track

The leaders of B.C. and Washington state pledged yesterday to forge ahead with a high-speed rail link between Vancouver and Seattle.

The leaders of B.C. and Washington state pledged yesterday to forge ahead with a high-speed rail link between Vancouver and Seattle.

Premier Gordon Campbell, who joked that he’d like Washington state to pay for the entire project, said the province plans to work with the federal government to improve the track, right of way and crossings.

He said it would require a “significant investment,” but offered few specifics on costs and timelines.

“Ultimately,” said Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, “with the national agenda of President Obama, we hope it will go, not just Vancouver to Portland, but on to California.”

Washington received $590 million from the U.S. federal government to connect Seattle to Portland with trains capable of averaging 180 km/h. Part of that money will be used in preparation of a Seattle and Vancouver connection.

“It would take literally thousands and thousands of cars off the road,” Campbell said. “Instead of spending people’s time in border lineups in their cars, they’ll be able to have a good time visiting Seattle or Washington state.”

It is estimated that a second Amtrak train between Vancouver and Seattle would add $11 million to the B.C. economy.

 
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