When the Point Defiance Bypass Project was announced, controversy was raised over the rerouting of the Puget Sound route’s Amtrak Cascade service.
The Puget Sound route runs from Freighthouse Square, along the Puget Sound coastline going past cities such as University Place and Steilacoom, and finally ending at the southern limit of the Nisqually Junction.
This reroute, on the other hand, would start from Freighthouse Square, go through Lakewood and stay along west of Interstate 5, and end at the same location; the only difference for passengers would be travel time reduced by 10 minutes.
Concerns have popped up with such problems as excessive noise and the train crossings disrupting emergency vehicles and public transportation. To deal with the noise problem passenger trains will not run from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Comments concerning this project will be taken from the public until Nov. 9.
A report on the proposed rerouting said citizens, emergency vehicles and public transportation would have to wait an additional minute at these railroad crossings. Dampening equipment would be used to decrease the amount of vibration in locations near Lakewood.
Though what does this mean for the taxpayers who will likely have to help pay for the construction of this new route?
Students at Pierce College, when asked about the project, shared quite similar viewpoints about this reroute.
“I think it’s a waste of money. Why build a new rail line to only cut 10 minutes out of travel time when we could spend it on improving education?” student Amber Krueger said.
Now along with reduced travel time, more trains running from Portland to Seattle will increase with the Puget Sound route being freed up.
The Obama administration in late August sped up the construction of the Point Defiance Bypass Project under the “We Can’t Wait” initiative.
Concerns though have been raised concerning how this new rail line will divide the lower income and minority areas of Lakewood.
“The costs outweigh the value for what this project will mean to Washington state residents,” Pierce College student Lindsey Arnold Jr. said. “It’s a Band-Aid to something that isn’t really broken and more or less needed at this time.”
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