Washington state is raking in the train money. WSDOT announced this morning that it’s getting $15 million that Florida gave up. That brings the state total to $781 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act high-speed-rail funding, or stimulus funds.
The press release claims that a nationwide high-speed-train network will connect 80 percent of Americans in 25 years.
The way traffic is, even heading south on I-5 where you used to feel like you were out in the sticks, and if gas prices keep climbing, a lot more people might start riding trains. I’ve always thought of them as more of a touristy thing, something that added to the experience of going down to Portland to play. But if they add more trips, and cut some time off of them, it could become a smart way to go based purely on transportation.
There are some trains in China and Europe that rocket to speeds of hundreds of miles per hour. The Seattle-Portland train tops out at 79 mph, said WSDOT spokeswoman Melanie Coon. That’s not the problem, though. The problem is clearing the way for them to run at 79 mph for more extended periods.
Washington will add two daily round trips between Seattle and Portland, for a total of six. The most recent $15 million will go toward eliminating a chokepoint near Vancouver where passenger and freight trains have to share the track.
All of the projects funded by the stimulus money must be completed by September 2017.