"Washington stands ready to immediately invest additional ARRA federal high-speed rail funds, if they are rejected by other states," Governor Chris Gregoire writes to USDOT Secretary LaHood. See below for letter.
She adds that
"Fourteen ready rail projects, valued at $533 million, from our original application did not receive funding....These projects have real benefits for people and businesses traveling the corridor."
Amtrak Cascades continues to be a shining star: ridership is up 13% this year compared to last year (through September), according to WSDOT's rail division.
The third quarter of 2010 set a record with 16,100 more riders than the same period in 2009, making it the highest third-quarter ridership since service began in 1994. Total ridership for the third quarter was 237,162 – a 7 percent increase over 2009.
Both the first and second quarters also posted record ridership with increases of more than 22 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Ridership jumped to the highest levels in 16 years during eight of the nine months so far this year. All but August were record-breaking months.
The second train to Vancouver, B.C., which began in August 2009 and will continue through at least October 2011, was a major factor in the growing popularity of Amtrak Cascades. More than 68,000 riders traveled on the second train between Vancouver and Portland in the third quarter.