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Discovery Institute to expand efforts to create regional transportation solutions through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
More than $9 million pledged over 10 years to Cascadia Project
SEATTLE — The Discovery Institute today announced a 10-year, $9.35 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will enable Discovery Institute to increase the efforts of its “Cascadia Project,” a long-term initiative to develop balanced, seamless, and expanded transportation systems among Washington, Oregon and British Columbia through public-private partnerships and innovative financing.
The grant will fund research, development, promotion and implementation of a long-term transportation plan for the Puget Sound region.
“Our immediate focus is to create long-term transportation solutions along the I-5 and the parallel Northwest Rail Corridor from Oregon to Vancouver, B.C.,” said Bruce Chapman, president of the Discovery Institute. “We’re planning for answers that will serve our region 50 years from now, and we’re confident that many of the programs we are developing may have applicability to other regions of North America.”
The institute’s recent report, “How Do We Get There From Here?” outlines ways to incorporate lidding and tunneling technology to expand freeway carrying capacity—including transit—in dense urban space, while healing the environmental effects of freeways on cities and expanding available air rights for new housing, parks and related development. Among other things, the plan describes policies to forge public/private partnerships for such transportation modes as passenger rail service and passenger ferry service.
“The multi-year commitment from the Gates Foundation will allow us to convene some of the best talent in the region—and nation—to apply their knowledge and ideas to long term transportation challenges,” said Bruce Agnew, director of Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Project. “From the impasse on the Alaska Way Viaduct’s future and the SR520 corridor from Seattle to the Eastside, to the unmet promise of high speed passenger rail, we aim to help break the current deadlock and implement a forward vision and a practical action agenda.”
The Gates Foundation will distribute $1.1 million to the Discovery Institute annually for the first three years. Distribution of additional funds over the following seven years will be contingent on an annual evaluation of the Institute’s work and the Cascadia Project’s relevancy toward results oriented transportation solutions.
This is the second grant from the Gates Foundation to the Discovery Institute. “We are very grateful for the careful consideration that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given this grant and the trust the foundation has shown in our institute,” Chapman said.
Past contributors to the project include the APEX Foundation and assorted businesses and government entities.
The Discovery Institute is a national and regional research center for varied public policy issues, including transportation, science and culture, technology, law, economics and the environment. Its mission is “to make a positive vision of the future practical.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving people’s lives by sharing advances in health and learning with the global community. Led by Bill Gates’ father, William H. Gates, Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based foundation has an endowment of approximately $25.7 billion.