High-speed rail could make Tacoma to PDX in an hour a reality

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The bipartisan infrastructure act contains $66 billion for passenger rail, including $12 billion for intercity passenger rail projects like the Cascadia ultra-high-speed ground transportation project.

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The South Sound is a vibrant part of our globally connected region that deserves quick connection to other great job centers up and down the Interstate 5 corridor. Imagine riding a high-speed train speed in Tacoma and be in Portland in less than an hour at speeds of up to 250 miles per hour. It’s a welcome alternative to spending hours stuck in I-5 traffic, making Portland day trips possible again.

Working closely with my congressional colleagues, including Senator Maria Cantwell, Reps. Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Suzan DelBene, and Speaker Peter DeFazio, I helped ensure the federal government stepped up and funded rail transportation. of passengers.

The bipartisan Infrastructure Act contains $66 billion for passenger rail, including $12 billion for intercity passenger rail projects like the Cascadia Ultra-Rapid Ground Transportation Project. We have a generational opportunity to get a share of that federal funding for the Pacific Northwest.

During this Washington state legislative session, I encourage state legislators to prioritize significant investment in the Cascadia ultra-high-speed ground transportation project. It is possible to apply for federal funds to truly launch this project and move beyond a concept to community engagement and development. If we are not ready, those dollars will go elsewhere and we will miss up to 80% of the federal funding for the project.

Building on local transit options, high-speed rail would improve our ability to move people more efficiently over longer distances, whether for work or to see family and friends. It is an important complement to our essential local transportation systems. In the South Sound, we need both local transit and high-speed rail to meet the current and future demands of our community and to support long-term economic development.

For those of us who have lived in the South Sound for a year, 10 or even 20 years, we know that the South Sound is one of the best and most beautiful places to live in the United States. With Pierce County alone adding 126,000 neighbors over the past ten years, and a planned supplement 364,000 new neighbors on the South Sound over the next 30 years, we know we need to plan and invest smartly in how we move people and goods. That’s why I fought so hard for the bipartisan infrastructure act and its extraordinary investments in transit and rail.

Our Cascadia megaregion is one of eleven in the United States. We can replicate the success that the Northeast Megaregion – which stretches from Maine to Virginia – has found in its high-speed rail service and better connect our metropolitan areas. For the South Sound, it is best to connect Tacoma-Lakewood to Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater. And while this type of investment will dramatically increase access to the South Sound, it will also expand geographic equity for workers. We need to encourage employers to think beyond King County when it comes to placing high-paying jobs and use this funding to make South Sound a job hub.

With the growing momentum within the federal government for high-speed rail, now is the time to help our region address pressing challenges and promote economic prosperity for all, across the strait. . I encourage the Legislative Assembly to fund the next phase of work on this project and provide the necessary state matching so that we can take advantage of federal funding this year. I am joined in making this request by a coalition of more more than 40 employer organizations, unions, communities and other elected officials who also encouraged the state legislature to act. Like me, these organizations and leaders see the potential of high-speed transportation to create incredible opportunities for future generations.

Let’s fund high-speed rail this legislative session so that the dream of Tacoma to Portland in less than an hour becomes our reality.

U.S. Representative Marilyn Strickland serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is the only African-American woman to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. She is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, is one of the first Korean-American women elected to Congress, and the first African-American elected to represent the Pacific Northwest at the federal level.

This story was originally published February 8, 2022 5:00 a.m.

Jose P. Rogers