Plans for expanded train service between Seattle and Vancouver might be the first step toward extending the corridor north.
Relocating the current terminus from downtown Vancouver a few miles southeast to Surrey would be a start. The change would eliminate the need to rebuild a bridge, cut the total travel time to Seattle and save more people in the metropolitan area a trip downtown to board, according to a local newspaper report Tuesday. SkyTrain would still provide a link to downtown.
Most importantly, serving more people in the area would build public support for trains. That's critical since funding for improvements would come from Canada. The new station could spur transit-oriented development in the area and eventually boost ridership from the Vancouver-area by 7 percent, assuming five trains a day to Seattle, according to a report by the Washington transportation department (it's in Appendix E).
British Columbia has studied options to implement train service to Whistler that's competitive with driving. Though the cost would be high, it could become realistic as the financial and time cost of driving rises. The Washington study bases projections for future ridership between Seattle and Vancouver on a series of projected fares and similar calculations of return on investment could be made further north.