At the Cascadia Rail Summit, enthusiasm to build a bullet train capable of going from Seattle to Portland — or to Vancouver — in one hour rubbed against an anti-tax message from the passage of Washington Initiative 976.I suppose it's subversive of me to suggest that the state obtain the money to widen the highways from the highway users, although that strikes me as a two-fer, providing motorists at the margin to consider riding the rails.
After bemoaning that the state’s highways, bridges, ferries and rail cars “are on a glide path to failure,” Washington Department of Transportation Secretary Roger Millar laid out the case for building an ultra-high-speed railway on dedicated track.
“As we regroup here in Washington state and think about investing $50 billion in ultra-high-speed rail,” Millar said, “do you think we’ll ever get to a place where highway expansion keeps up with economic expansion and population? It will not happen. It cannot happen.”
Millar estimated a cost of about $108 billion to add one additional lane to Interstate 5 in each direction from the Oregon border to the Canadian border.
“One hundred and eight billion dollars and we’ve got another lane of pavement in each direction and it still takes you all day to get from Portland to Vancouver,” he told the audience. “Half of that invested in ultra-high speed rail and it’s two hours. That’s game-changing stuff.”
MAYBE AFTER THEY'VE TRIED EVERYTHING ELSE.
Trendy tech-heavy Washington State can't find enough tax money.