BLAINE(NEWS1130) – Blaine’s push for an Amtrak stop has cleared another hurdle.
Ken Oplinger is a council member in Blaine and says the stop now officially has his city’s support.
He says convincing the Washington State Department of Transportation to fund the project is next.
“You’ve got roughly $200- million in rail improvements that can help the train speed through the area,” he says. “You’ve got interest expressed in the past from Washington State – especially through Amtrak – to try to get at some point four trains from Seattle to Vancouver.”
Oplinger says track improvements will mean a faster trip and allow for the Amtrak stop without any time loss in Blaine.
“You’ve got in essence, 750,000 people who currently aren’t served by Amtrak,” he notes. “I think that warrants an additional stop of the train.”
Oplinger says in the end, he’s concerned about the cost issue and how they’re going to pay for it.
“That’s one of the things we’ve talked about. Since we’ve got such support from our friends in Surrey, White Rock and Langley let’s jointly all go to Victoria and say look, this is a US train station, we’re certainly not expecting BC to come up with a lion’s share of the cost but I do think since this is going to primarily serve Canadians, working with them on finding some funding sources for this that didn’t all come from the state capitol in Olympia would be advisable.”
At this point, Oplinger says no funding has been lined up for the Blaine Amtrak stop.