High-speed trains: “Let the private sector build the line”


It’s always fun to spend someone else’s money. So, I guess Op-Ed writers Chris Gregoire, Alex Hudson, and Mark Riker can scoff at their call for an “ultra” high-speed train between Vancouver, BC, Seattle, and Portland at the cost of dozens ( or hundreds?) billions – to be paid by someone, elsewhere, of course. Seattle to Portland (or Vancouver) in an hour: Affordable travel (if someone else pays anyway).

Here is the deal. Before COVID-19, you could already get from downtown Seattle (Lake Union) to downtown Vancouver (Coal Harbor) in an hour by seaplane. Using commuter planes (take off from Boeing Field) to Portland International Airport also takes about an hour. Cost to the taxpayer? Nada. Small planes don’t require a lot of safety procedures, so no time wasted there. And electric commuter planes are on the horizon, so no carbon savings via the TGV.

Gregoire, Hudson and Riker declare “economic growth potential of $ 355 billion”. If this is true, then let the private sector build the line, without a subsidy, and reap the potential net benefits, if any. As much as I would love to see them go on a fabulous trip, I’m not so keen on being taxed for that to happen. So if they can get it built at no cost to the taxpayer (ha!), I’m all for it. Otherwise, not that much.

Donald F. Padelford, Seattle


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