Washington and B.C. recommit to strengthening regional partnership, building sustainable future
Gov. Jay Inslee and B.C. Premier John Horgan met today for a bilateral meeting and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to act jointly to grow the region’s innovation economy, protect the environment and combat climate change, promote trade, and improve transportation connectivity.
“B.C. and Washington state share so much more than just a border,” Inslee said. “Our people and our businesses recognize the benefits of collaboration and partnership, and we recognize that investing in our workers and protecting our environment goes hand-in-hand with building a strong economy. We’re already seeing results from our partnership and I look forward to continuing to make our region a global hub of innovation and connectivity.”
The new MOU details numerous areas of collaboration including protecting the endangered southern resident killer whales and examining the possibility of a new multi-jurisdictional Ultra High Speed Rail Corridor authority that could help lead the project in any agreed-upon subsequent phases.
“Gov. Inslee and I are working together to tackle challenges, and seize the opportunities and potential in our region,” said Horgan. “Today’s memorandum builds on work already underway to deliver strong, sustainable economic development, create good jobs, and build a better future for people on both sides of the border.”
During their bilateral meeting, the two leaders talked about the new seaplane service between Seattle and Vancouver and the latest business case analysis for a 250 mph (400 km/h) ultra high speed rail corridor. Both leaders also discussed the regional effort to prevent and treat opioid use disorder, and highlighted the need to protect coastal communities and shared marine ecosystems, and committed to work jointly to protect Southern Resident killer whales amid growing concerns about risks to the waters the whales travel in and to the salmon they eat.
“Our job is to make sure people have opportunities they need to succeed and can afford to live here, while we work together to meet our climate action goals and transition to the low-carbon economy of the future,” said Horgan. “We’re also committing to work together, with Indigenous Peoples, and with the Canadian and U.S. federal governments, to protect our shared clean air, land and water, and the iconic and endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.”
The MOU was signed at the 2018 Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference in Vancouver, BC that brings together business, academic, and government leaders from both sides of the border to explore regional collaboration.
- Total Canada-Washington goods trade is valued at approximately C$26.4 billion.
- In November 2017, Gov. Inslee traveled to Victoria where the two leaders committed to building stronger bonds between B.C. and Washington State.
- In March of this year, B.C. contributed $300,000 toward a Washington state-led study of potential ultra-high-speed corridor service connecting Vancouver with Seattle, Portland and beyond.
- The results of the business case analysis for Ultra High Speed Rail are anticipated by June 2019.
- In April, the leaders welcomed downtown-to-downtown seaplane service between Seattle and Vancouver.
- During the meeting, Inslee and Horgan discussed steps to create more opportunities for growth and good-paying jobs throughout the region and the importance of mutually beneficial trade between jurisdictions.
- The leader’s affirmed their ongoing support for the Cascadia Innovation Corridor that brings together governments with the tech sector to increase linkages and collaboration between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle.
- Inslee and Horgan also discussed work with other West Coast partners to act collectively to fight climate change, including ongoing work with the Pacific Coast Collaborative.
- West Coast government leaders are building more sustainable economies by stepping up efforts to get more electric vehicles on roads, make buildings more energy efficient, advance renewable energy technology to help spur innovation, attract investment, create jobs, and make our communities more resilient for the future.
- Joint cooperation on the opioid crisis, agreed to in March, is moving forward with ministerial discussions taking place later this month.
- Through the MOU, B.C. and Washington agreed to work to advance the Innovation economy. Partnerships will focus on life sciences, financial and retail innovation and transformative technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain and cloud computing.
Pacific Coast Collaborative: http://pacificcoastcollaborative.org/
Cascadia Innovation Corridor: http://cascadiaconference.com/