"Cascades needs to have quicker, more frequent service and better on-time performance. That goal will require work to clear choke points, install better signals and separate grade crossings.
A recent study by the state Department of Transportation pegged the cost of doubling the number of daily Seattle-to-Portland roundtrips to eight and shaving a half hour off the travel time at $817 million.
The payoff: Ridership would more than double. That’s thousands of cars a day that would not be clogging I-5.
State transportation planners have the projects ready to go. All they need is the money. Washington and Oregon have wisely invested in getting the dream of high-speed rail this far. By rewarding that effort with a healthy infusion of funding, the feds could encourage others to do the same."