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High-Speed Rail Plans Still On Track

October 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, MISC, Puget Sound Region

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An October 28th press release issued by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced the second round of recipients receiving funding under the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program. Guess who got $18.2 million for King Street station? The Seattle Department of Transportation will use the funds to continue building restoration and seismic retrofitting work, adding security features, and implementing ease-of-use enhancements.

The funding didn’t stop there. A $9 million award will go towards Sound Transit’s new Tukwila station, providing service for both commuter and the Amtrak Cascades line. Another $3.3 million will help build siding tracks (passing lanes for trains), improving reliability for both freight and passenger trains. Currently, Amtrak shares the rails with Union Pacific, with UP getting the right of way if trains need to use a track at the same time. Finally, $400,000 was allocated to develop a WSDOT state rail plan better integrating freight and passenger service.

Portland and Eugene, Oregon weren’t forgotten either. A $4.2 million grant pays for that corridor’s planning and environmental studies. An additional $4 million will fund a preliminary engineering and environmental study for renovations and track improvements at Portland’s historic Union Station to increase capacity, enhance reliability, and reduce congestion.

HSIPR is intended to help address the country’s transportation challenges by investing in an efficient network of passenger rail corridors connecting communities nationwide. Check out the map below. The solid lines represent high-speed rail work underway, the dotted lines represent where high speed rail will eventually get to.

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For our area, the goal is to develop a dedicated track all the way from Eugene, Oregon to Vancouver, BC where trains will operate up to 150 miles per hour. In January 2010, the Obama Administration awarded the Pacific Northwest area $598 million in stimulus money to help make this happen.

King Street Station serves more than 3 million intercity rail passengers annually on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, and Cascades routes. It also serves 13 daily Sound Transit commuter trains. 

King Street Station serves more than 3 million intercity rail passengers annually on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, and Cascades routes. It also serves 13 daily Sound Transit commuter trains.  Here are links if you’d like  more information on the King Street Restoration project, and the Washington/Oregon corridor.