Vancouver to Portland bullet train proposal won’t be derailed by funding loss: Washington State

PORTLAND (NEWS 1130) – Washington State is insisting the Vancouver to Portland high-speed train is still possible, despite the loss of a major revenue stream.

Washington State voters decided to roll back car registration fees in a vote last week, but the transportation department says there are other ways to come up with the money to build it.

Janet Matkin, Communications Manager for the Washington State Transportation Department, says the project is still viable.

“This concept for an ultra high-speed transportation system that would link Vancouver, Seattle and Portland is really in the early stages of planning and analysis, so I don’t think it’s going to be affected by any recent votes related to the car tab fees,” she says.

RELATED: B.C., Washington and Oregon fast-tracking high-speed rail corridor across Pacific Northwest

Even if the project was further along, she says this one revenue stream will not make or break whether this goes ahead.

“It’s really about looking towards the future and what transportation may look like in the Pacific Northwest, so we’re really looking at is it feasible, does it make sense, how might it be paid for, how would it be governed,” she says.

“There’s lots of different options that have been looked at; there’s no final decisions that have been made so far.”

RELATED: High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

But Matkin highlights the train does appear to be cost effective at an estimated $42 billion USD, versus the cost of building one extra lane on the I-5 in each direction at around $108 billion USD.

B.C., Oregon, Washington State and Microsoft are currently studying how the train would be built, governed and funded, and estimate at least 1.7 million passengers a year.

The train could travel up to 400 kilometers per hour. The existing Amtrak Cascades trains run at around 130 km/h.

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