WASHINGTON, DC –Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued the following statement today on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) announcement that $590 million dollars in stimulus funding will go toward building a high-speed passenger rail corridor in the Pacific Northwest:
“Today’s announcement on the high-speed rail project is huge for Washington state and will provide tremendous short- and long-term economic stimulus to our region while generating approximately 6,500 family-wage jobs. The high-speed railway will promote economic development up and down the I-5 corridor, and improve job recruitment in urban centers by providing access to a pool of potential employees who live further away.
“The project, called The Pacific Northwest Corridor, will reduce road congestion and pollution, improve trade, and promote tourism, eventually linking Eugene, Oregon, and Vancouver, BC, by high-speed rail via Seattle. The $590 million in funding will go to the Washington State Department of Transportation and clear the way for adding two additional daily round trips on the Seattle-to-Portland segment, for a total of six. Rail improvements will reduce travel time by at least five percent, and improve on-time performance from 62 to 88 percent. This is vitally important for the movement of passengers and goods, making the Pacific Northwest an even more vibrant economic area.
“For years we have been working hard to bring national attention to the tremendous benefits that would flow from developing high-speed rail capability in our region’s rail transportation network. I worked on and supported the high speed rail program in the Senate Commerce Committee. Last year I voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which authorized and funded these programs, and I took steps to smooth the border-crossing process for Amtrak trains in the Pacific Northwest.
“Along with my Washington state congressional delegation colleagues, I enthusiastically supported our application to DOT for this funding. Our success in getting this funding owes much to significant preparatory work done by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).”