Canadian province British Columbia (BC) has announced funding to carry out a high-speed rail study to connect key Pacific Northwest cities.

The province will provide $300,000 to study the next phase of the Ultra High Speed Ground Transportation Project designed to link Vancouver, Seattle and Portland.

This study will be carried out by the Washington State Department of Transportation in collaboration with BC, Oregon, and other regional and local agencies.

It will help address the roles, responsibilities, and future funding needs of the project; as well as help to develop a regional public outreach and engagement plan.

The study will also seek ways to integrate ultra-high-speed rail into regional transportation and land-use planning, as well as focus on the development of plans for future environmental review processes, and engineering and design requirements.

Earlier phases of the study demonstrated the project’s ability to strengthen trade ties between BC, Washington, and Oregon, as well as create around 200,000 jobs and support economic activity within the region.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan said: “Improving transportation connectivity throughout the Pacific Northwest is an important part of our work to build a stronger, more sustainable future for people on both sides of our border.

“This proposal has the potential to significantly cut transportation time between Seattle and Vancouver, presenting new opportunities for clean economic growth, job creation and tourism throughout the region.

“That’s why our government is proud to invest in the next phase of the high-speed rail study.”