Second Amtrack run extended

Published on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 by By Jeremy Schwartz

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Canadian officials in Ottawa have decided against charging border inspection fees for the second Seattle-Vancouver train.

The move comes after a firestorm of criticism that erupted following the earlier Canadian government’s announcement that they would begin charging $1,500 per day beginning November 1.

Politicians on both sides of the border came out against the plan.

Mayors from Oregon to the border, including Blaine major Bonnie Onyon, signed on in support of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) allowing the second train between Seattle and Vancouver to continue running without charging Amtrak border inspection fees.

The fees would have raised the price per ticket at least $20, according to the Vancouver Sun. Governor Chris Gregoire said in her letter to Canadian public safety minister Vic Toews that charging Amtrak those fees would have effectively killed the second train.

“We cannot ask Washington travelers to pay a higher ticket price to cover this border clearance fee, when no Washington or United States fee is charged to travelers coming from Canada, and Washington state currently pays all of the operational expense of the train,” Gregoire wrote.

Both Washington and B.C. governments spent hundreds of millions of dollars to establish the second train for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The letters sent to the Canadian government support the continuation of the second train because of its positive effects on tourism from Eugene, Oregon, to Vancouver. The evening train reaches Vancouver at 10:50 p.m. and leaves the next morning at 6:40 a.m. The morning train arrives in Vancouver at 11:40 in the morning and departs at 5:45 in the evening.