Tom White, one of the lead authors of the Amtrak Cascades LRP, and Solutionary Rail Project Lead Bill Moyer, wrote this article about the future of rail in our State:
by Thomas White and Bill Moyer
Washington state has two potential tracks toward a 21st century rail future, with starkly different outcomes.
One provides higher speed, climate-friendly passenger service linking as many as 13 communities on the Cascadia corridor, with increased capacity for freight trains. It has been in development since 1991 and some elements have already been completed. It would provide clean, electrified Amtrak Cascades passenger service at up to 110mph along existing lines. The phased effort would rapidly create jobs, upgrade service and cut carbon pollution. It could be completed in a decade.
Tragically, this shovel-ready plan is being ignored while another flashy vision grabs the spotlight. That is the “ultra-high-speed rail” (UHSR) project proposed by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s administration and developed by WSP, a giant engineering firm. It offers a maximum of five stops along the route. To facilitate speeds up to 220mph, it would require an entirely new passenger-only corridor acquired through costly land acquisitions and the controversial use of eminent domain, with many environmental challenges. While science tells us we need to dramatically cut carbon pollution this decade, UHSR would take many years before the first track is put on the ground and decades more to completion — if it happens at all.
The Amtrak Cascades Long Range Plan (LRP) can deliver a proportionate, achievable and impactful transportation solution for our State. And it can serve as a Solutionary Rail pilot project, a huge step for lowering greenhouse gas emissions, tire and air pollution, congestion, wear and tear, and much more.
@Washingtonians: there’s still time to reach out to State Legislators & ask that the Amtrak Cascades LRP be funded.
Please, if you haven’t done so yet, contact your two state Representatives AND your state Senator, asking for:
- State funding to update the Amtrak Cascades Long Range Plan
- Legislators to work with WSDOT to request that Federal Railroad Administration grant programs be generously funded by the federal government.
Send this letter (“Legislative Sponsors Needed”) by email:
- Click to download the suggested text
- Copy and paste the subject line and text
- Send today to each of your State legislators
If you write to your elected officials, please fill out the form at the bottom of the page HERE (or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the names of legislators you contacted) so we can track who has been contacted. If you hear back, please let us know. If your legislator asks for additional info, we can put them in contact with experts to answer all their questions.