The Cascadia Innovation Corridor ­has a desire better connect the Cascadia region, which extends from Portland, through Seattle, to Vancouver, BC. One way in which this section of the Pacific Northwest hopes to be brought together is through ultra-high-speed ground transportation that would bring riders from Seattle to Vancouver (or to Portland) in only one hour.

The Province of British Columbia, the Oregon Department of Transportation, and Microsoft joined Washington state to fund an in-depth study as to how this method of transportation could be best carried out. The three new partners committed a collective $750,000 to the project, doubling the funds already provided by the Washington State Legislature for a total of $1.5 million.

The study will be a year-long technical analysis that will build upon a preliminary study done in 2017.

“We developed a vision for a better-connected Cascadia mega region that will help our talented entrepreneurs, researchers, and workers share knowledge and expand economic opportunity,” Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement. “The possibilities created by connecting our three largest cities via a high-speed transportation options are really exciting.”

To complete the business case study, WSDOT selected the engineering and professional services firm WSP (formerly Parsons Brinckerhoff), which has experience developing high-speed rail projects around the world. By July 2019, WSP will have identified possible locations for the transportation route, estimated potential ridership, and refined cost estimates.

The study is another step toward a better-connected Cascadia region in which private and public sectors collaborate across borders in order to enhance the entire region.