Is a high speed rail line through Washington actually realistic, or is it a pipe dream?

Nov 17, 2021, 4:14 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2021, 8:40 am
High speed rail...
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Washington joined with Oregon and British Columbia this week on an agreement to form a committee to continue exploring the possibility of connecting the three areas with a high speed rail line. But is it realistic?

Gov. Inslee: High-speed rail ‘could help us rebuild our economy’ post-COVID

The idea of a high speed rail line in the Pacific Northwest is nothing new, with Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia having all worked together on studying its feasibility for years now.

The hope is to have trains with a maximum testing speed of at least 250 miles an hour, which could theoretically shorten the travel time between Seattle and Portland to one hour. A trip between British Columbia and Portland would take roughly two hours.

For Gee & Ursula Show co-host Gee Scott, it’s a no-brainer, particularly as more prospective homeowners get priced out of Seattle.

“We’re going to start to see more and more people have to go south in order to purchase a home,” he noted during Wednesday’s edition of the Gee & Ursula Show. “Is there somebody in their 20s fresh out of college that’s not in tech that’s ready to buy a home on their own in Seattle? More and more people are starting to go south, and I love the idea of faster transit.”

Aaron Mason — filling in for Ursula Reutin this week on the show — agreed.

“I’m a huge fan; I think it makes sense,” he said. “Train tech is a very good all around the world — Japanese trains going like 300, 400 miles an hour, something like that, it’s nuts.”

“I’m not expecting a bullet train necessarily,” Aaron added. “But it does help people get around this area for various reasons. And as we know, the traffic situation in this area is abysmal at best.”

Portland to Seattle in an hour for a Washington bullet train?

Gee & Ursula Show producer Andrew Lanier, though, remains skeptical.

“I can’t support this plan right now,” he said. “I mean, California has also been pursuing high speed rail for years and it’s gone virtually nowhere. It’s been stuck in almost every single community that it has to go through.”

You can listen to the full discussion here.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Is a high speed rail line through Washington actually realistic, or is it a pipe dream?