Advocates push for high-speed rail in Pacific Northwest

The goal is to connect the major cities in the Pacific Northwest with high-speed rail. (KATU Graphic)

An advocacy group is renewing the call for a high-speed rail network in the Pacific Northwest.

Under their proposal, trains that travel up to 250 mph would connect the major cities in our region: Vancouver, B.C., Seattle, Portland, Eugene, and Spokane.

Cascadia Rail released a guest post on the Seattle Transit Blog Monday.

In the post the organization wrote, "Every time a mom or dad spends ninety minutes on a 35 mile commute between Tacoma & Seattle, or 5 hours just to get to Portland, we know something is wrong. WE. DESERVE. FASTER. Our quality of life, and of our children's lives, depends on it."

The group says their vision is a 90-minute train ride from Portland to Seattle.

"We think that 90 minutes to Seattle is a really, really great way to pitch the idea," said Matt Glazewski, the Portland spokesman for Cascadia Rail.

There are plenty of obstacles in the way. Cost may be the biggest factor.

"There are some ballpark numbers out there that are in excess of $50 billion, yes with a "B", said Glazewski. "But if you think about it, the Seattle area is spending that much money on a light rail network that rivals what we have here in Portland with TriMet."

Glazewski says there is support from key lawmakers and governors. Right now, the group is trying to build buzz and support and is pushing for more studies to be done in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.

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