Officials try to save second rail to Canada

A proposed second daily Amtrak train from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C., touted as an important transportation choice up and down the line, may be derailed. If it is, the consequences are all bad, warned Bruce Agnew, director of the Cascadia Project and a former Snohomish County Council member. "A second train would really make the corridor work. It wouldn't be a novelty, it would be a transportation option," he said Thursday. "If the (second) train goes a lot of things go as well." A second train, leaving Vancouver every morning, would allow passengers to make a one-way trip to Portland, Ore. As it is now, the run to Oregon requires an overnight stay in Seattle. Amtrak runs one train a day from Seattle to Vancouver, stopping in Edmonds and Everett on its way north in the morning and in the evening on the return trip. Read More ›

Planners ponder the future of “Cascadia”

The United States, mighty as it is, can't tame crowding and pollution in the growing Eugene-to-Vancouver, B.C., megalopolis without Canada's help. That's according to the visionaries behind "Cascadia" -- people in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia whose vision of a cross-border unity is becoming less of a wild-haired concept and more of a problem-solving tool. Leaders of an 8-year-old Cascadia think tank yesterday offered a rough outline of what they portrayed as a radical but realistic way of unclogging the region's bottlenecks. They chose as their audience some of the 5,700 urban planners who yetserday began their four-day annual convention in Seattle. The Cascadia think tank would like to do even more, creaing a binational organization called the Cascadia Corridor Corp. that would oversee a $100 billion, 20-year rebuild of the roads and bridges in the Interstate 5 coridor: Cascadia's 465-mile "Main Street.".....The plan, known as Gateways Phase 1, was created by the Cascadia Project of Seattle's Discovery Institute. It proposes rebuilding I-5 through downtown Seattle, for example, with layers of underground car and transit lanes. A new tunnel would channel commuters under Lake Washington. An integrated Cascadia transportation scheme also would bring 300 "seamless" miles of high-occupancy lanes to the Seattle metropolitan area, plus hundreds of miles of scenic greenbelts along highways. Modeled on the cross-border efforts to improve the East Coast's St. Lawrence Seaway, the plan would combine government and private investment from both nations through innovative financing methods. Without such new investment, (UBC prof Alan) Artibise said, freight and passenger delays will increasingly constrict the region's economy. Cross-border truck traffic has doubled in the last five years, he said, partly because of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Read More ›

Lawmakers seek compromise plan for another Amtrak train in county

Legislators may derail plans for a second Amtrak train tip through Whatcom County. The state House of Representatives has approved a transportation budget that doesn't include money for operating a second train, and boosters are scrambling to find a way to fget the money back into the budget through the Senate. "The one train we have now isn't much of a transportation option for people," said Bruce Agnew, who works with Seattle's Cascadia Project pushing transportation alternatives and improvements. "This second train is in line with regional plans to increase the options to driving on I-5."...Cascadia's Agnew said there is a move afoot in British Columbia to get on board with the new service. The B.C. Transportation Finance Authority is considering spending $30 million (Canadian) on track improvements, Agnew said Read More ›

Cascadia: borderless solutions

Most of us grew up listening to the songs of government in four-four time. The metronome ticked off a familiar beat: city, county, state fed. But the world has never been that plain. There are all sorts of borders, lines of government jurisdiction written with distinct rhythms. Thesounds also can come from international agreements and treaties, from tribes, and from Read More ›

Harcourt warns of growth crisis

A human tsunami is heading for British Columbia and Washington state, and threatens to devastate cities in its path, former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt said Friday. Harcourt, an expert on sustainable cities, was the guest speaker for the second Cascadia Mayors' Council, a day-long event held at the Victoria Conference Centre. The council and conference, initiated two years ago by Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, was created to encourage cooperation between the regions in Cascadia -- B.C., Washington and Oregon. Harcourt told more than 25 Cascadia mayors, including host Victoria Mayor Bob Cross, the region must implement an urban growth and sustainable development strategy in the next few years. If not, population growth will devastate the area -- socially, environmentally, economically. In 1960, the region was home to 2.6 million people, he said. "Today over six million people live here. By 2020 there may be an additional three-to-five million here," he said. Read More ›

Rapid rail may link more of our cities

In the Pacific Northwest...backers of improved "Cascadia" service -- trains linking Vancouver to Seattle, Portland and Eugene -- have set a national example by pressing successfully for sleek, big-windowed "Talgo" trains....Annual Cascadia train ridership topped 550,000 last year, 137 percent more tha 1993. Legislatures of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia are starting to collaborate on funding. The environment is being spared hundreds of tons of carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides pumped into the atmosphere each year. Listen to Bruce Agnew, head of the Cascadia Project at the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based nonprofit, and you hear a full set of "gateway and trade corridor" strategies to avert mounting traffic gridlock. Example: A joint U.S.-Canadaian Corridor Corporation, with a variety of infrastructure banks to tap and combine U.S. and Canadian federal, state, provincial and other funds for rebuilt, and in some areas relocated, rail and highway lines. Agnew suggests direct baggage-checking facilities -- onto international flights from Vancouver, Seattle or Portland -- at train stations. Collaboration between the airports and with rail, sharply reducing the hundreds of commuter flights along the corridor. New train tracks to move containerized frieght off the highways. The result would be a cleaner, more efficient, more competitive, customer-friendly region. Read More ›
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Stapler and remover

Q&A: Wedge Issues

It's not only in politics that leaders forge movements. Phillip Johnson has developed what is called the "Intelligent Design" movement, which contends that time plus chance (the mechanism for change in Darwinism) could not bring about the complex order of life around us. Mr. Johnson is a Berkeley law professor who, spurred by the crisis of a failed marriage, converted to Christianity in midlife. He has written many books including, most recently, The Wedge of Truth. Read More ›
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White pinwheel and windmill with blue sky and white cloud background, symbol of happiness
White pinwheel and windmill with blue sky and white cloud background, symbol of happiness

Fact, Myth, and the Scopes Monkey Trial

People who only want unbiased, honest science education that sticks to the evidence are bewildered by the reception they get when they try to make their case. Their specific points are brushed aside, and they are dismissed out of hand as religious fanatics. The newspapers report that “creationists” are once again trying to censor science education because it offends their religious beliefs. Why is it so hard for reasoned criticism of biased teaching to get a hearing? The answer to that question begins with a Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee play called Inherit the Wind, which was made into a movie in 1960 starring Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly and Frederic March. You can rent the movie at any video store with a “classics” section, and I urge you to do so and watch it carefully… The play is a fictionalized treatment of the “Scopes Trial” of 1925, the legendary courtroom confrontation in Tennessee over the teaching of evolution. Inherit the Wind is a masterpiece of propaganda, promoting a stereotype of the public debate about creation and evolution that gives all virtue and intelligence to the Darwinists. The play did not create the stereotype, but it presented it in the form of a powerful story that sticks in the minds of journalists, scientists and intellectuals generally…

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Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds

Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds is directed at a lay audience who is trying to understand how to open up serious dialogue over evolution. UC Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson and program advisor for the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, explains that the core question in the creation/evolution debate is not about the age of the earth, but about Read More ›

Science Friday, Scopes Trial 75th Anniversary, part 1

To hear in Real Audio go to “” HEADLINE: SCOPES TRIAL AND THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION VS. CREATION IRA FLATOW, host: This is TALK OF THE NATION/SCIENCE FRIDAY. I’m Ira Flatow. Today is the 75th anniversary of the day a Tennessee jury, after deliberating for nine minutes, handed John Scopes a guilty verdict. The crime: violating Tennessee’s law that banned Read More ›