B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee 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.

“Gov. Inslee and I are working together to tackle challenges, and seize the opportunities and potential in our region,” said Premier 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.”

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.

“B.C. and Washington state share so much more than just a border,” Gov. 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.”

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 400 km/h (250 mph) ultra-high-speed rail corridor. The 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. They also 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,” Premier Horgan said. “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 that brought together business, academic and government leaders from both sides of the border to explore regional collaboration.