BC backs high-speed rail

UPDATE: 1:40 p.m.

B.C. is backing a bid to develop high-speed rail service between Vancouver and Seattle.

The province will help fund a study into a potential ultra-high-speed corridor connecting as far south as Portland.

Premier John Horgan was joined by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee as he announced that B.C. will contribute $300,000 toward the study. High-speed rail would cut travel times between Vancouver and Seattle to about 60 minutes, from three hours. The trains can travel at up to 400 km/h.

"The convenience ... would create countless opportunities for people in both B.C. and Washington, from sports or concert getaways for families, to untold economic growth potential for businesses," said Horgan.

"Exploring the possibility of creating a clean, efficient high-speed corridor is particularly important as the Pacific Northwest grows in economic importance, and we look to reduce barriers to expansion across our borders."

An economic analysis released last month by Washington state estimated that a high-speed corridor link could create up to 200,000 jobs for B.C. and U.S. workers, and generate billions of dollars in economic benefits.

Washington has approved $1.2 million in funding for the rail study.

"This ultra-high-speed corridor is an exciting proposal for both British Columbia and Washington, aligning with our mutual goal of strengthening our economies through collaboration," said Inslee. "The early study results show the corridor would help create jobs, generate affordable housing options, ease freeway traffic and clean our air. It's an exciting step for Washington and British Columbia."

ORIGINAL: 11:25 a.m.

Expect another step forward in the drive to connect B.C., Washington and Oregon by high-speed rail.

Premier John Horgan and Washington Governor Jay Inslee will make an announcement about the initiative today in Vancouver.

A release from the premier's office says the details will involve a proposed ultra-high-speed corridor service connecting Vancouver with the U.S. northwest.

Earlier studies in the U.S. have revealed a high-speed line could cost as much as U.S. $42 billion, but stakeholders say it would support job creation and the Washington legislature voted last week to spend just over $1 million to further examine the idea.

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