A Push for Passenger Rail in the Pacific Northwest

By on Thursday, August 11th, 2022 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

LA GRANDE – Mass passenger rail services in the Pacific Northwest may have the gone the way of the steam trains that once carried them, but the chance for Oregonians to ride the rails again may be in the near future. All Aboard Pacific Northwest and various other regional infrastructure advocacy groups are pushing for renewed Amtrac services and are asking the public to join the discussion. 

This renewed interest in reinstating Amtrac Services in the Pacific Northwest, especially in rural areas, follows increased federal support of passenger service development and the encouragement of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. In a July address to Western State Governors, Buttigieg noted that it was an ideal time for former Amtrack routs to be restored, with advocates of the Hiawatha Route in Montana already making a strong effort.

Similarly, All Aboard Washington is asking its members to petition the state governor, local legislators and the Washington Department of Transportation to apply for the Corridor Identification and Development Program. This program, according to the Federal Register, “establishes a comprehensive intercity passenger rail planning framework that will help guide future federal project development work and capital investments.’

All Aboard Northwest and their partners in The Association of Oregon Rial and Transit Advocates are hoping to work with local communities and state and federal transportation representatives to realize the expansion of passenger rail services in the region. To accomplish this, they will be hosting Train Trek meetings in Eastern Oregon. As stated, on their official flyer:  

“Whether you’re concerned about the environment, job creation or ease of travel, expansion of rail will bring significant benefits to the Pacific NW. Ultra-high-speed rail from Vancouver, BC to Portland, OR is only one part of the rail network that we need. We can take advantage of the current massive investment from the Federal Government into passenger rail to build a seamless region-wide rail service. Join AANW and AORTA representatives to discuss how the federal funding available for rail transportation can provide:

  • Opportunities to share our priorities through the Corridor Identification Program
  • Opportunities to collaborate across state lines through Interstate Rail Compacts
  • Information from the Federal Railroad Administration’s upcoming studies of previous passenger rail routes, and potential new ones.”

The La Grande Train Trek meeting is Saturday, August 13, 10:00 A.M. at the Cook Memorial Library. 

All Aboard Northwest Website: All Aboard Northwest (allaboardnw.org)

All Aboard Washington Website: For a Connected Northwest (aawa.us)

Read the full description of the Corridor Identification and Development Program at Federal Register :: Establishment of the Corridor Identification and Development Program