Shifting freight traffic to rails would cut congestion and pollution, according to a study by Demographia:
In the Seattle area alone, shifting 25 percent of freight from trucks to trains by 2025 would mean 43 fewer hours in commuting time every year, compared with what is likely to occur otherwise. That same shift also would decrease air-pollutant emissions in the Seattle area by as much as 11,635 tons and save thousands of gallons of fuel.
The trick, of course, is making the change. Improving and expanding the Eastside rail line and also adding rail capacity throughout the Vancouver-to-Portland corridor could handle the traffic. Curbing the subsidy for cars and trucks on freeways would make the shift financially sensible.