Is a bullet train along the I-5 corridor feasible? State aims to find out

by: Walker Orenstein, Tacoma News Tribune Updated:

Dreaming of being whisked past highway traffic through Western Washington by a bullet train?

It won’t happen anytime soon. But the state will study the possibility.

Washington’s two-year transportation budget has $300,000 for a consultant to research an “ultra high-speed” rail project between Portland and Vancouver, B.C. The hypothetical train would have stops in Vancouver, Wash., Olympia, Tacoma, SeaTac, Everett and Bellingham. It would travel 250 miles per hour or more, according to the legislation.

The state wants to find out how much such a project would cost, where it would go, and how many people might use it. A report is due to the Legislature by mid-December.

Washington and Oregon’s rail plans may be in the early planning stages, but California is chugging forward with a $64 billion project to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco by bullet train.

The plan is expected to hit legal hurdles based on California environmental law, however. The project is being championed by the state’s governor, Jerry Brown.

Washington already researched a bullet train in the early 1990s. The new study is required to provide “an update” to that one, which was delivered to the governor and Legislature in 1992.


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