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"Imagine traveling between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Portland, Oregon, in just a few hours." That's how the Washington State DOT (WSDOT) is garnering support for a 466-mile ultra-high-speed -- more than 250 mph -- rail line connecting Eugene, Oregon, and Vancouver, British Columbia. The agency has selected engineering and professional services consultancy WSP USA to conduct a business case study for the project, which would cut travel times from Seattle to Vancouver and from Seattle to Portland to just one hour.

A memorandum, signed by British Columbia and Washington state leaders at the 2016 Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference, committed a collaborative effort to further regional economic opportunities for innovation in the technology sector. The 2017 Ultra High-Speed Ground Transportation Study served as preliminary analysis for a new rail and prompted the request for a more in-depth look at its feasibility. The new study will identify potential ultra high-speed ground transportation corridors, refine cost and ridership estimates, and analyze previous infrastructure and high-speed rail projects for problem-solving solutions.

The study is funded and supported by an international, public-private partnership of WSDOT, the Oregon DOT, the British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, and Microsoft Corp. It's expected to be completed by July 2019.

“This project is an exciting opportunity to improve communities, grow the economy, and open doors for people and businesses to prosper across an entire region in a sustainable, future-focused way,” says WSP Project Manager Karen Hedlund.

WSP is part of the teams for similar projects in Texas, California, and internationally. The firm is rail delivery partner to the California High-Speed Rail Authority for a statewide high-speed rail system and providing engineering support for the Texas Bullet Train between Houston and Dallas.

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