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Cascadia: Eastside Corridor Can Support Interurban Rail

Original article (includes transcript plus RealAudio and MP3 links to story).

The Cascadia Center at Discovery Institute says an independent study shows the Eastside Rail Corridor can support interurban rail. The finding from the think tank is contrary to a plan in the works between the port, the county, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe to remove the tracks and build a hiking trail. KUOW’s Patricia Murphy reports.

PATRICIA MURPHY, KUOW: “RIGHT NOW THE 42–MILE CORRIDOR THAT RUNS FROM RENTON TO SNOHOMISH IS THE PART OF A 44–MILLION DOLLAR TRAIL DEVELOPMENT PLAN. A SO–CALLED MEMO OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN PORT OF SEATTLE COMMISSIONERS AND KING COUNTY CALLS FOR THE REMOVAL OF THE TRACKS WITH THE HOPES THAT THEY WILL BE RE–LAID AT A LATER DATE. THE CURRENT THINKING IS THAT THE RAILS ARE INADEQUATE AND MUST BE REMOVED. CASCADIA CENTER’S BRUCE AGNEW SAYS NOT SO… AGNEW SAYS UPGRADING THE TRACK COULD ALLOW FOR SELF PROPELLED PASSENGER RAIL CARS CALLED DIESEL MULTIPLE UNITS OR DMU’S.

BRUCE AGNEW, CASCADIA CENTER: “It can operate with a track upgrade of 40–million dollars at around 40–miles an hour speeds… and we would anticipate operating every half hour… and it would be a quiet and carry bike racks and it would burn far less fuel than a traditional sounder or Amtrak train.”

PATRICIA MURPHY, KUOW: “THE GROUP PLANS TO SHARE ITS IDEA WITH OFFICIALS FROM KING COUNTY, THE PORT OF SEATTLE, SOUND TRANSIT AND BURLINGTON NORTHERN SANTA FE THIS WEEK. THE PUBLIC CAN GET A LOOK AT THE STUDY DONE BY A RETIRED BNSF CHIEF AT A COMMUNITY FORUM TONIGHT AT THE COLUMBIA WINERY IN WOODINVILLE FROM 4:30 TO 7:30 P.M. PATRICIA MURPHY, KUOW NEWS.”