Last week, the Washington State House came through with $900,000 to partially fund a business case study of high-speed rail connecting Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland. Meanwhile, the Washington State Senate dropped the ball, allocating no money for the $3.6 million investment grade study Governor Jay Inslee requested, with rail advocates cheering on.

β€œHigh-speed rail, you cannot overstate what that would mean for the economies of both regions,” Governor Inslee said last fall.

The bills are in conference committee, so now is the time to pressure the state senators to follow the house’s lead and fund the study.

The House actually added $300,000 in state-backed funding for the study over an earlier proposal last week and keeps open the possibility for a further $300,000 in local and private funding match, totaling $1.2 million. In committee, Senator Marko Liias (D-Edmonds) had tried to come up with a comparable proposal but pulled an amendment at the last minute, and no funding was added in passing the bill out of the Senate.

There are reasons to like some elements of the Senate language since it included $250,000 in state funding to study passenger rail to Eastern Washington via Stampede Pass and creating a workgroup to study electrification of mainline railroads in the state. The Senate also left open the door to a $3.6 million business case study of high-speed rail if local or private dollars were provided.

Cascadia Rail is urging supporters to contact state representatives by Monday with this prompt:

Rep Judy Clibborn’s (D-Mercer Island) House Transportation Committee has provided about $1 million to advance study of ultra high speed connections (high speed rail, maglev or hyperloop) between our cities to make this a reality. Unfortunately, the Senate is yet to fund this, providing $0 state money for further study.

This could be decided BY EARLY NEXT WEEK! So please contact the legislators below on the Senate Transportation committee soon to urge them to fund this critical study. It could provide economic development, better quality of life and less wasted time for millions.

The list of suggested state senators include:

πŸš„Sen Hobbs (D), – (360) 786-7686
πŸš„Sen Saldana (D), – (360) 786-7688
πŸš„Sen King (R), – (360) 786-7626
πŸš„Sen Chase (D), – (360) 786-7662
πŸš„Sen Cleveland (D), – (360) 786-7696
πŸš„Sen Dhingra (D), – (360) 786-7672
πŸš„Sen Fortunato (R), – (360) 786-7660
πŸš„Sen Liias (D), – (360) 786-7640
πŸš„Sen McCoy (D), – (360) 786-7674
πŸš„Sen OBan (R), – (360) 786-7654
πŸš„Sen Sheldon (R), – (360) 786-7668
πŸš„Sen Takko (D), – (360) 786-7636
πŸš„Sen Walsh (R), – (360) 786-7630
πŸš„Sen Wellman (D), – (360) 786-7641
πŸš„Sen Zeiger (R), – (360) 786-7648

The featured image is by Cascadia Rail.

Olympia Poised to Partially Fund High-Speed Rail ‘Business Case’ Study

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