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Michael Behe: A Biography

Michael Behe (born 1952 in Altoona, Pennsylvania) is a biochemist and an influential intelligent-design theorist. A Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, he received his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. His dissertation was on aspects of sickle-cell disease, and his postdoctoral work Read More ›

Francis Collins: A Biography

Francis Sellers Collins (born April 14, 1950, in Staunton, Virginia) is a physician and geneticist known for leading the Human Genome Project to its completion. In the debate about faith and evolution, he achieved prominence as a self-identified Evangelical Christian who finds evidence in science for God’s existence but rejects intelligent-design theory and embraces Darwinism. He has designated his version Read More ›

High Speed Rail Can Transform Cascadia

High speed rail and improved inter-city freight rail infrastructure can better unite the Cascadia region, from British Columbia to Oregon - while reducing highway congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, and boosting the economy and tourism. We'll highlight the transformational possibilities at the Cascadia Rail Partnership Conference, May 27-29 in Seattle and Portland. Don't miss it.

North American rail is at center stage on the transportation agenda. Eight billion dollars in U.S. stimulus money is kicking off a new series of improvements to the nation's rail systems. Beneficiaries could include the Amtrak Cascades passenger rail line which runs from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, and north to Vancouver, B.C.

Since 1994, Washington, Oregon, the federal government, regional agencies and railroads have made capital and operating investments of about $1 billion in the Amtrak Cascades line. Now - with President Obama prioritizing high speed rail - is the time to build on that investment. The visioning that precedes the hard work of securing full funding for passenger and freight rail improvements has begun anew. Vancouver Sun economic affairs columnist Miro Cernetig writes that the opportunity should be seized to strengthen U.S.-Canada links via improved Northwest rail service.

Additional information:

"Ottawa's Lack Of Vision May Derail Our High-Speed Rail Dreams," Vancouver Sun, 5/18/09

"Tourism Leaders Steaming Over Train Holdup," The Province, 5/15/09

"High Speed Rail: Region Should Climb Aboard," Everett Herald, 5/15/09

"Is Cascadia's Train Coming In?" Crosscut, 5/12/09

"
Hope For High Speed Rail On the West Coast," McClatchy News/Tacoma News Tribune, 5/10/09

"Planes, Trains, And...Two Vital Projects To Relieve Air Traffic Congestion," Washington Post editorial, 5/6/09

"Megaregions And High Speed Rail," Richard Florida, Creative Class Exchange blog, The Atlantic, 5/4/09

"Mayor Backs Plan For High Speed Rail From Oregon To B.C.," The Province, 4/26/09

"Next Stop: A Faster Train From Seattle To Portland," Tacoma News Tribune, 4/21/09

"Obama's Rail Plan Not So High Speed," The Oregonian, 4/21/09

"Spain's Bullet Train Changes Nation, And Fast," Wall Street Journal, 4/20/09

"Rail Advocates Laud Federal Announcement," Seattle PI.com, 4/16/09

"High Speed Rail Gets $8 Billion Boost; Northwest Could Benefit," Associated Press/Seattle Times, 4/16/09

Rail articles archive, Cascadia Prospectus blog, 2007-2009

"Vision For High Speed Rail In America: Strategic Investment Plan," Federal Railway Administration, USDOT, 4/09

Amtrak Cascades Long Range Plan, Washington State Department Of Transportation, 2006

Statewide Rail Capacity and System Needs Study," Washington State Transportation Commission, 2006

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SR 99 Deep Bored Tunnel Costs – Radio Transcript

(Excerpt) Dave Ross:.....Bruce, I think it's fair to say that the whole tunnel idea was dead until you guys resuscitated it. Bruce Agnew: Well, we did bring some international experts who'd had experience in building tunnels in Shanghai, Madrid, and North America and they told us that the tunnel would be around a billion dollars and I agree with the Governor. The DOT added a 27% contingency, and they're currently at $1.9B for the tunnel. So if you look at worldwide experience in tunneling and advances in technology, the Governor's figures are absolutely correct. The other important factor is that the DOT decided to go with a single bore versus a double bore, which means less labor, less materials and one machine versus two....(Additionally) Sound Transit's bids on the Beacon Hill transit tunnel came in about 22% below estimate and just, I think it was last week, San Francisco BART's bids on a tunnel came in at 45% below the engineering bids and there were five bidders. So there's a very hungry environment for contractors and the sooner we get this bored machine going, the better we're going to be. {......} Dave Ross: As you've mentioned, there have been deep-bored tunnels done before, in Beacon Hill, yes. But in Beacon Hill, that's mainly residential. There are no gigantic buildings you're going under for that tunnel. Has it ever been done? Has a tunnel this large ever been bored under a major urban area before? Bruce Agnew: Absolutely. Shanghai, Madrid, Paris. They're looking at a deep-bored tunnel for a Port of Miami and the I-710 freeway in Los Angeles.That's why I think the DOT and the project team came around on this is because they got the information about the 20 projects that are currently underway around the world and those that have been completed on time and on budget. The average costs of those was somewhere around 350 million dollars a mile so even if you take a look at the DOT's budget, which estimates it would be about 1.17 billion per tunnel-mile, there's a lot of fudge factor built into that. {...} Bruce Agnew:....the other point I would make to your listeners is that you've got to take a look at the history of our state DOT in the last five to ten years in terms of bringing projects in on time and on budget. You look at the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the I-5 widening in Everett which were built under a new design-build procedure which brings in the talent of the private sector early on. Those are good examples, albeit they're highway projects, but they're good examples of the management of this DOT in terms of (completing within budget) these projects and that story isn't told enough, I think. Dave Ross: You are complimenting the DOT on bringing things in on...You're a conservative think tank, right? Bruce Agnew: Well yes, so we applaud government efficiency. And as someone who has a beach cabin up north in Snohomish County, I go through Everett all the time and it's just remarkable what that widening project has done in terms of traffic flow through Everett. It's great to see that. Full transcript Audio of full interview 12/08 - 4/09 Tunnel News & Opinion Read More ›

House OKs SR 99 Tunnel – News & Commentary

CASCADIA IN THE NEWS Cascadia’s Bruce Agnew Discusses Tunnel Approval, & Cost Issues, KIRO-FM 97.3, Dave Ross Show, 4/28/09 “Seattle Tunnel Would Be The World’s Widest,” Daily Journal Of Commerce, 4/24/09 Cascadia’s Bruce Agnew interviewed on Tunnel Decision, KOMO 1000 AM, Seattle, 4/23/09 OTHER ARTICLES “Lawmakers Approve Viaduct Tunnel,” Seattle P-I, 4/24/09 “Viaduct Tunnel Bill Passes Legislature,” KING5-TV, 4/24/09 “Should Read More ›

Ready To Try Public-Private Partnerships Yet?

When California recently resolved its mammoth budget deficit, it also moved to ease restrictions on transportation public-private partnerships, a politically controversial idea that over the long run could help control costs to taxpayers of improving overloaded roads, rails, and freight facilities. P3s, as the arrangements are called, draw from among construction, engineering, highway management, and infrastructure investment firms (often funded partly Read More ›

The P-I: Saying goodbye to a liberal voice

The editorial ‘Too many posers’ in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer assails the majority Democrats in the Washington State Legislature for not following through on their promise to adopt green “cap and trade” legislation. It would have been much better for them to respond to the recession by committing political suicide, apparently. It was a perfectly pitched swan song for the unfailingly liberal voice of Seattle’s Read More ›

Darwin’s Birth Day

Had Charles Darwin been able to witness his own gestation period, might he have changed his mind about the evolution of mankind? Assuming that he was an honest and keen observer of nature—and the evidence suggests that he was—the answer is a resounding yes. He essentially said so in 1872 when he wrote: “If it could be demonstrated that any Read More ›

Governors Envision Eco-friendly Fuels At I-5 Rest Stops

Discussion Brief: “Greening The Highway From Baja California To British Columbia,” Cascadia Center For Regional Development, September, 2007 Cascadia Center’s September, 2007 “Greening The Highway” symposium overview and TVW video links Cascadia Center’s September, 2008 “Beyond Oil” symposium overview – program, speaker PowerPoints, TVW video (including Shai Agassi, James Woolsey, Microsoft’s Rob Bernard), links to media coverage “Columbia River Crossing: Read More ›