Geography by Geoff gets into the weeds about the effort to bring high-speed rail to Cascadia. Covering the history of rail here in the Upper Left, he makes the point that our very young cities were built around trains. While that deteriorated with the rise of cars and planes, here is a good argument for building them back. Better.

The Urbanist has covered the studies mentioned, including the Cascadia Innovation Corridor events, the strong public support, and the business case for viable high speed rail from Vancouver, British Columbia to Portland via Seattle. There is also a lot to say about the idea to fund the train by building new “Hub-Cities” and some of the issues surrounding dropping 100,000 people in a shiny new exurb.

Unfortunately, the memorandum of understanding that was signed between the jurisdictions doesn’t specify rail, instead opting for the nebulous “high speed ground transportation.” This leaves the door open to rail-blocking vaporware like Hyperloop. As Geoff argues in this video, the case for high speed rail is so obvious it doesn’t need that kind of nonsense.

Article Author

Stephen is a professional urban planner in Puget Sound with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. With stints in great cities like Bellingham and Cork, Stephen currently lives in Seattle. He primarily covers land use and transportation issues and has been with The Urbanist since 2014.