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Microsoft to host Seattle summit on high-speed rail connecting Pacific Northwest cities

Excessive-speed rail within the Pacific Northwest has lengthy been a dream of Microsoft and the tech big is accelerating efforts to make that dream a actuality.

Subsequent month, Microsoft will host authorities, transportation, and enterprise leaders on the Cascadia Rail Summit, an occasion in Seattle devoted to connecting Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver B.C. through a high-speed practice. The proposed rail line would make it attainable to journey from Seattle to Vancouver in below an hour. Its proponents say that will flip “Cascadia” — named for the mountain vary that spans the area — into an innovation hub akin to Silicon Valley.

The Cascadia Rail Summit will happen Nov. 6-8, one month after Microsoft executives and authorities leaders within the area gathered for the Cascadia Innovation Hall Convention, one other occasion devoted to turning the Pacific Northwest right into a better-connected tech hub. The concept for a high-speed rail connecting Portland to Vancouver was born out of the inaugural Cascadia Innovation Hall Convention in 2017.

Three years later, the plan is selecting up steam.

Microsoft has donated a total of $573,667 to research the feasibility of building a high-speed rail line within the area. The primary phases of that research confirmed that there’s client demand and market viability for the mission.

The Washington State Division of Transportation estimates {that a} high-speed rail line connecting the three cities would spark between $264 billion to $355 billion in financial progress within the area between 2035-2055. The mission will price roughly $24 billion to $42 billion and would generate between $160 million to $250 million in annual income, in accordance to transportation officers.

The Cascadia Rail Summit will “construct on these research, create momentum for the mission, and start the vital planning, financing and governance work to carry it to actuality,” in accordance to Microsoft and the U.S. Excessive Velocity Rail Affiliation, which is co-hosting the occasion.

“This mixed personal and public sector assist is a serious catalyst that would transfer this mission sooner to actuality and function a constructive instance for the remainder of the nation,” mentioned US Excessive Velocity Rail Affiliation CEO Andy Kunz in an announcement.

Audio system embrace former Washington Governor and present Problem Seattle CEO Christine Gregoire, Microsoft’s authorities affairs director Irene Plenefisch, Washington Division of Transportation Secretary Roger Miller, Oregon Division of Transportation Administrator Hal Gard, and others.

The occasion shall be held at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash. It can embrace speaker classes, networking, and excursions of transit tasks within the space.

Editor’s word: This story has been up to date with Kunz’s feedback. 

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