July 22, 2019
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WSDOT Study: Ultra-high-speed rail could have $355B economic impact

Being able to travel from Seattle to Portland or Vancouver, B.C., in less than an hour would expand the potential workforce for companies throughout the Northwest and would spur major economic growth, according to a study about ultra-high-speed rail released last week by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The study said that such a rail system would mean $264 billion to $355 billion in potential economic growth. That includes 38,000 construction jobs, 3,000 operating and service jobs and up to 160,000 jobs indirectly created through the increased regional access.

Ridership is projected at 1.7 million to 4.1 million annually in what is described as a conservative estimate. Ticket sales are estimated to cover, or come close to covering, ongoing costs.

The projected cost to build the system would be $24 billion to $42 billion, with financing and funding from both public and private sectors. Conversely, adding another lane to each direction of I-5 would cost $108 billion.

The Puget Sound Business Journal has more on the study.

Meanwhile, the newspaper also reports that Richard Branson's train venture, Virgin Trains USA, is considering the Pacific Northwest for a potential expansion. Branson's private corporate jet was in Seattle recently, landing at Sea-Tac before traveling to Miami, where most of Virgin Trains USA's operations are located.

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Connect With Congress
Career-connected Learning

Steer our students to the many paths for productive lives

By State Sen. Lisa Wellman and State Rep. Vandana Slatter

We know that today's jobs require education beyond high school. But our graduation rate is still under 80 percent, and only 40 percent of our high school students earn a credential or degree after high school by the time they are 26 years old.

Meanwhile, businesses can't find workers with the skills they need. This means that despite the state's strong economic growth, thousands of Washington students are being left behind every single year.

The situation is serious and getting more urgent. In the next few years, Washington employers are anticipating 740,000 job openings with jobs that require technical certification, apprenticeship or college degrees. We need to get students ready...

Career Connect Washington provides a fundamental new framework for connecting students to high demand, high potential jobs, and higher education, job training and actual employment. Through a regional approach of supporting localized networks focused on the needs of our diverse state, each area of our state will be able to help students learn about, explore and prepare for their careers...

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times