Led by Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, more than 125 regional leaders gathered Tuesday to jump-start the conversation pertaining to rail’s future in Snohomish County and the Puget Sound.
During the “On Track” summit, key government and industry leaders spent the morning discussing ways to incoroprate rail into the county’s evolving transportation network, including Eastside rail options, while also talking about how best to be prepared when opportunities arise.
“Including the Eastside rail options into our transportation plan makes sense in the long run,” Reardon said. “It helps relieve congestion by giving our residents more options and sets Snohomish County up for increased economic development, such as landing the 737 supersite.”
Presentations included U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen’s outlook on federal transportation spending and the importance of reauthorizing a six-year federal transportation bill.
“Improving the rail system in the Northwest puts people to work, keeps our economy moving and helps maintain our leadership in the world,” Larsen said. “High speed rail is a part of that.”
Individual presentations, as well as a moderated panel discussion, looked at new innovation, rails-with-trails options, financing and successful multimodal hubs.
Officials from Sonoma and Marin Counties, Calif., highlighted their successful rail program following a 70-percent favorable vote for service. Wrapping up the conversation was an in-depth discussion on Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit’s rails-and-trails program, as presented by the Cascadia Center.