Washington State has submitted the Track 2 ARRA funding request that would increase Amtrak Cascades trains, improve on-time performance and could add nearly 800,000 additional seats with the increased train capacity.
The $1.3 billion request will fund 26 projects between Blaine, Washington and Vancouver, Washington. These projects would dramatically improve the reliability by improving the track to reduce the amount of slow-orders, adding new track in certain locations that will allow passenger trains to go 110mph, new trainsets, new locomotives, extending longer trainsets, and more.
Washington is one of 24 states that have applied for the Track 2 funding that has totaled $50 billion. The amount available is only $8 billion. California has asked Caltrans not to apply for Track 2 funding to improve chances of California’s HSR program. Many people believe California’s system will get the bulk of the $8 billion dollars with a few remaining states getting the rest of the funding.
Remember, this is an “all or nothing” request. The FRA/DOT is not going to award funding for one project… whatever is submitted for Track 2 is what will be funded. If for example, Washington State was denied Track 2 funding, the DOT won’t say “but we’ll fund Point Defiance”
With that said, things will be very competitive. It will be a lot of pressure from California and other reps that would prefer to send all funding to California to ensure the route is built.
While I would prefer if Oregon and Washington received the money, things will be very hard with the competition out there.