Bruce Agnew

Director, Cascadia Center

Since 1993, Bruce Agnew has been leading the Northwest Cascadia initiative serving as director of the Cascadia Center in Seattle. The Center is a private, non-profit, public policy center engaged in regional and international transportation and technology. Bruce also co-chairs of the Transportation Group for the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) – a public private partnership of ten Northwest states and Western Canadian provinces/territories.

Since 2017, he has served as director of the ACES NW Network dedicated to the acceleration of ACES (Autonomous-Connected-Electric-Shared) technology in transportation. The Network is a 40 member technology driven alliance co-chaired by Tom Alberg, Co-founder and managing partner of Madrona Venture Group in Seattle and Bryan Mistele, CEO/Co-founder of INRIX global technology in Kirkland.

In 2009, Seattle Magazine named him “Road Warrior” in their “Power List” of community leaders for his transportation initiatives from advocacy of a Deep Bore Tunnel for the Alaska Way Viaduct Replacement to innovative infrastructure financing, passenger rail and ferries. He was also awarded the “Smashed Brick” by the Canadian Consul General in 2008 for reducing barriers to cross-border trade and tourism.

On the North American front, Mr. Agnew chaired an advisory committee to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) chartered by NAFTA publishing a report,“Destination Sustainability” exploring carbon taxes on trade corridors and serves on the Can Am Border Trade Alliance.

From 1987-93, Mr. Agnew was Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative John Miller from Washington state’s First District. Before his congressional service, Bruce Agnew was elected to two terms on the Snohomish County Council and served as President of the Puget Sound Regional Council in 1985. Mr. Agnew is a 1974 graduate of Stanford University and a 1977 graduate of U.C. Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall) and resides with his family in Beaux Arts Village, WA.

Archives

Second BNSF Bridge To Keep Trade Flowing Through Idaho, PNW

For years, BNSF trains have safely traversed the bridge over Lake Pend Oreille, efficiently shuttling goods and commodities to foreign and domestic markets. Now, in an effort to further expedite shipping and modernize rail in the Pacific Northwest, BNSF is proposing a multi-million dollar upgrade in the form of a second parallel bridge that will allow rail traffic to move even safer in both directions simultaneously. The new bridge will reduce the times trains have to wait for other trains to cross the bridge. The backups created by waiting trains can sometimes extend for many miles. The second rail bridge will reduce delays in the city, improve air quality and reduce noise by cutting idle times while the trains are ...

Cascadia Center’s “Beyond Oil” Conference: A Wrap-Up

A crowd of 500 key influencers from the private sector, government, academia and the media filled Microsoft’s large meeting facility in Redmond for the Sept. 4-5 conference organized by Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Center, “Beyond Oil: Transforming Transportation.” Gripping presentations by former CIA Director James Woolsey, electric car systems entrepreneur Shai Agassi of Better Place (pictured, left), and Microsoft’s sustainability guru Rob Bernard – plus groundbreaking vehicles on display, dozens of other great speakers and several high-level technical workshops – built a heady buzz and energized networking. Among the take-aways: U.S. national security is badly compromised by our dependence on foreign oil – we need to develop an even greater sense of urgency around breaking the habit. Electricity and the second-generation Read More ›

Island Home Car Ferries A Good Choice for Washington

Susan Gilmore’s article in today’s Seattle Times on the Island Home ferry planned for the Port Townsend-Keystone route was spot on in describing how nice the ferry is for riders. Over the Memorial Day weekend, my family had a chance to ride on the new Island Home ferry (as well as the older ferry that also serves the route) in Massachusetts, from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard. We came away impressed. As the Times’ piece indicates, there is a special deck-top area for free wireless Internet connection. Other amenities include comfortable seats (with cupholders!), quiet areas on the first passenger deck, and a well-stocked snack area that handled the packed crowds quickly with dual stations. Unlike Washington State Ferries policy, Read More ›

Mobility 2.0 For Puget Sound

With the recent meltdown of the New York City cordon pricing plan, Puget Sound is moving to the forefront of innovative transportation planning — if our region can get its act together. The success of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, adoption by the Legislature with support from the Governor of a tolling policy for the State Route 520 floating bridge, and the pending State Route 167 HOT lane pilot project combine to fuel possibilities for a strategic pairing of HOT lanes and bus rapid transit in the 405 corridor; in reconfigured I-5 express lanes; and in other critical corridors. But to implement these and other roads and transit measures will take real money and a single point of accountability, namely a Read More ›

One Step Closer To Eastside Commuter Rail

The action taken by the Port of Seattle yesterday in moving forward with purchase of the BNSF rail line east of Lake Washington is an extremely important milestone for the future of rails and trails on the Eastside. The new wrinkle has King County purchasing rather than leasing from the Port the Renton-to-Bellevue and Woodinville-to-Redmond sections, to remove the track and develop a gravel trail. That will need to be reckoned with, but it isn’t a deal killer. The Renton-to-Bellevue portion of the rail line was scheduled to be severed anyway, due to construction of an expanded section of I-405 at the Wilburton Trestle. What’s left right now, for possible – and we believe, eminently feasible – Eastside commuter rail Read More ›

Eastside Commuter Rail An Affordable Regional Asset

Under a planned deal between the Burlington Northern Sante Fe railroad, the Port of Seattle and King County, a key 31-mile stretch of the Eastside BNSF rail line could be ripped out for scrap, and soon, to make way for a recreational trail. A recreational trail is a great asset, bring it on! But road congestion is a growing problem in Central Puget Sound; population is projected by regional planners to swell 52 percent by 2040; and current transit options are limited. The full Eastside rail corridor should be not only preserved, but utilized for commuter rail and a trail. The Seattle Times reports today on Cascadia Center’s proposal for an Eastside commuter rail line on the existing, 42-mile BNSF Read More ›

State Auditor’s Report Details Congestion-Busting Agenda

A report issued yesterday by Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag’s office urges the state to more aggressively attack highway congestion, beginning with a formal declaration that congestion is a top transportation policy priority. The Seattle Times reported on the findings today. The transportation performance audit, prepared for Sonntag’s office by Talbot, Korvola & Warwick of Portland, goes on to make more than 20 specific policy recommendations. These include urging that the state legislature should: “empower a single body – either the Department of Transportation or a regional transportation entity for the Puget Sound Region – to allow for a more integrated approach to planning for congestion reduction:” “choose/identify transportation projects based on congestion reduction rather than other agendas;” “implement new Read More ›

Gas Tax Revenue Drop Will Continue, And Hasten Tolling

The Seattle Times has a story this morning about new projections of a Washington state gas tax revenue shortfall of $1.5 billion, and the added impetus this gives to tolling as means of funding crucial transportation projects. The story says the expectation of state forecasters is for continued high gas prices and constrained demand, and that although the revenue shortfall is relatively small now, it is a real problem in the long term. But that is only half of it. As we learned at our technology conference at Microsoft this year, the Prius is the fastest selling model for Toyota in the Northwest. On deck for Toyota, GM, Ford and other manufacturers are plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) which use Read More ›

It’s Time for the Federal Government to Get Serious About Rail

Recently, The Wall Street Journal provided a rosy update on Amtrak service and an increasing federal budget, particularly for the New York-Boston corridor. Airplanes are getting stuck in lots of traffic jams this summer, but Amtrak is on a roll. Ridership on the passenger rail system is up 6% so far this year, the biggest jump since the late 1970s. On the Acela Express, trains that run at higher speeds between Washington, New York and Boston, the number of riders has surged 20% over the past 10 months. That’s enough new passengers to fill 2,000 Boeing 757 jets. Ridership is up, according to the article, as business people – wary of endless hassles at Northeast airports – increasingly turn to Read More ›