Microsoft to host high-speed rail conference

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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David C. Lester

Consideration of high-speed passenger rail service between Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland has been underway for several years. Now, the first conference to discuss this in detail will be hosted next week (November 6 to 8) at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

Attending the conference will be government officials from each city, rail industry representatives, along with business and industry interests. The goal of the conference is to teach this group about how high-speed rail works, and how to promote service between the three cities.

As the governments of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon have done, Microsoft has contributed significant funding to the preparatory and analytical work around the project. Through 2018, Microsoft had contributed $350,000 to the study.

According to Microsoft president Brad Smith, “Our ability to compete in the world’s economy will be enhanced dramatically by having a region that is six million inhabitants strong versus two or three regions of three million each. By combining the sub-regions, it is the only way for this megaregion to reach scale. None of the sub-regions can get to six million by itself.”

Analysis of the potential benefits of the project continues, and Microsoft is contributing $223,667 to the effort, which brings its total contribution to date to $573,667.  Additional funding for the next phase of analysis is being provided by the states of Washington, Oregon, and the province of British Columbia.

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