Ultra-High-Speed Ground Transportation study - Business Case Analysis – December 10, 2018 advisory group meeting

Overview - Advisory Group Meeting 3 - December 10, 2018

Twenty-two members of the committee attended the third meeting. The agenda included:

  • An overview of a recent meeting of national transportation experts
  • Discussion of governance issues for high-speed ground transportation
  • Vision development brainstorming
  • An update on elements of the business case analysis

Overview of recent expert panel discussion

  • A panel of experts was convened by the consultant group WSP to provide insight on high-speed rail projects in other regions, as well as lessons learned
  • The discussion defined three pillars of success:
    • Governance: developing a partnership framework is an important step for early collaboration and decision-making
    • Political and public support requires broad public and business engagement that includes clear messaging and a compelling vision
    • Funding and finance options must be explored and a partnership framework must be developed for early collaboration and decision-making

Governance issues

  • Consultants shared information about three examples of US/Canada cross-border agreements: Gordie-Howe Bridge, Saint Lawrence Seaway International Bridge and Peace Bridge, each with a unique set of challenges and considerations
  • Also looked at European and Asian partnerships that might offer lessons learned. The common themes were:
    • Separate delivery companies/authorities were established
    • There was private involvement in delivery (often public-private partnerships)
    • They used alternative funding tools
    • They delivered using independent regulation
  • There are existing legal authorities at both the federal and state/province level that might be applicable to the project
  • Responsibilities of a future authority could include membership and appointment, developing procurement rules, cross border contracting and regulation, station area development and application for grant funding

Messaging development

  • Clear and consistent messaging is vital to the success of the project
  • The advisory group participated in a visioning exercise to help guide messaging

Business case analysis elements: Update

  • Two example station scenarios were shared to show the Advisory Committee the types of information that will be analyzed, including intermodal ridership connections, different levels of daily service on the same system, ridership projections, and equity considerations
  • The Cascadia megaregion has the 12th largest GDP in the world, a combined population of 8.7 million, and large tech and manufacturing sectors
  • Some regional gaps and constraints limit economic growth including a lack of affordable housing in core areas, workforce availability, border and trade barriers that curtail flow of labor, goods and services
  • Some benefits of improved high performing connectivity include economic integration of metro areas, synergistic growth across industry clusters, decentralized cost pressure in the urban core, and more infill development and innovation start-ups
  • The advisory group discussed potentially including two stations in Canada