Now, I’m usually not one to take the train places, but apparently there’s a good bunch of people in the Pacific Northwest who take advantage of the railroads. Brookings Institute recently measured Amtrak trends and ridership and released a report of its findings. The Seattle metro area was ranked as the 11th busiest metro area for passenger rail, and Portland’s ranked 16th.

As gas prices jump up and down, from here to there, and the cost of owning cars increases, more people are taking to the trains. While the national rail system has been described as “troubled”, it has seen a 55% increase in riders, mostly on short-distance routes. According to a co-author of the Brookings report, the Amtrak is “running most effective and efficient in places like Oregon and Washington, states that are putting skin in the game and reorienting attention to Amtrak as a viable transportation mode.”

Perhaps a lot of our use of trains could have to do with us being a rather “green” part of the country. Luckily for us, the Cascades route could very well expand in the near future, made possible by funding of #32.4 million from Washington and Oregon personal license plate fees, car rental fees and motor vehicles sales taxes.

The Seattle metro area currently has over 900,000 passengers.

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