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The relaxing way to see the sights.


This year's summit will feature joint programming with the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) Annual Summit. The PNWER Annual Summit taking place July 16th-20th brings together 550 legislators, business leaders, academics, and policymakers to discuss regional economic best practices and trade concerns. Rail is a key infrastructure area for PNWER and we are looking forward to a great event together.

Welcome from Senator Mike Crapo

Wednesday, July 19
7:00 - 6:00pm Registration
7:30 - 9:15am

Keynote Breakfast: Infrastructure and the Economy
Transportation infrastructure connects people, businesses, and commodities, and is a critical component of a healthy economy. Unfortunately, transportation infrastructure in the U.S. has consistently fallen short of its safety and reliability goals. This keynote session will explore the importance of investing in infrastructure as a way to improve regional resiliency and competitiveness.

  • Mark Brajer, Tlicho Investment Corporation, Chief Executive Officer
  • Andrew Neely, WSP USA, Senior Vice President, Federal Government Affairs
  • Karen Hedlund (Moderator), Surface Transportation Board, Vice Chair
  • Bruce Agnew (Moderator), Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER), Director, Regional Infrastructure Accelerator (RIA) Program
9:30 - 10:30am

Railroads are a Backbone: Importance of Railroads to PNW Communities
Freight rail networks across the U.S. and Canada are a critical link in the supply chain of several critical products and industries, including agricultural products like fertilizers and grains, critical minerals, consumer goods, chemicals, planes, and more! From raw materials to finished products, running through every major metro area and through most rural communities, railroads are the backbone of many Pacific Northwest communities and industries. Beyond this, freight railroads are an important example of how private sector investment in infrastructure can benefit local economies. This session will explore the importance of railroads in the 21st century, including their critical role in securing the Pacific Northwest’s agricultural supply chain, and how railroads are a climate-conscious way to connect Pacific Northwest goods to domestic and international markets.

10:45 - 11:45am

Better Together: Moving People & Freight on the Same Tracks
Introducing High Performance Rail - Identifying ways to co-invest in freight and passenger rail to improve overall rail performance. How have passenger rail service providers across the U.S. and Canada successfully navigated their relationships with host freight railroads? How can those lessons inform the current discussion to expand passenger rail service in the Pacific Northwest?

12:15 - 1:30pm

Keynote Lunch Plenary: Smashing Roadblocks: Permit Modernization and Reform
Permit modernization has been a hot-button topic across sectors, including transportation, mining, broadband, energy, and other key sectors that are important to our Pacific Northwest regional economy. This session will explore a variety of questions including: What can the Pacific Northwest U.S. states learn from our Canadian partners on ways to improve the existing permitting process while maintaining high standards? What role does permit reform play in meeting emissions reduction goals and increasing environmental justice? How can the region work together to promote best practices at the state and local level?

2:00 - 4:00pm

U.S. DOT Programs & Office Hours
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) supplemented existing US DOT discretionary grant and formula fund programs, and created dozens of new, targeted programs to help fund infrastructure across the US. Despite this record-setting investment, there aren't enough grant dollars to fund all of the infrastructure projects needed to have safe, reliable, resilient infrastructure through the end of the 21st Century. Join the PNWER RIA program and the Greater Northwest Passenger Rail Summit as they host technical assistance and innovative finance experts from US DOT to explore ways to access new and existing grant programs, how to leverage TIFIA and RRIF financing, and get projects over the finish line.

  • Carl Ringgold, Build America Bureau, U.S. Department of Transportation, Program Development Lead
  • Cecilia Arritola, U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Secretary, Grants Management Specialist
  • Dr. Santiago Cruz-Roveda, Federal Railroad Administration, Regional Outreach – Supervisor Project Sponsor Outreach
  • Sarah Williams, USDOT Build America Bureau, Project Development Lead
  • Laila Kral (Moderator), Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC), Director
6:00 - 8:00pm

Reception at Boise Depot
Boise Depot - 2603 W Eastover Terrace

9:00 - 11:00pm Hospitality Suite
Grove Hotel Terrace
Thursday, July 20
7:30 – 9:15am

Breakfast Keynote: Amtrak Across America
Join Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner for a breakfast conversation regarding Amtrak's $50 billion campaign to create a new era of rail in America. Building on support from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and in partnership with local and state governments across the country, Amtrak is working to revitalize passenger rail travel throughout the U.S. Learn more about their efforts to upgrade critical rail infrastructure, modernizing their train fleet, new service delivery, and station improvements to build a national rail network.

9:30 – 10:30am

Legislative Panel: Connecting Our States
Legislators from throughout the Greater Northwest will come together to describe current and future opportunities for states to work together in support of passenger rail. Given the important role that state legislatures have in funding state-operated rail service, hear from elected officials across the region as they discuss how they've built political support for rail investments, how they work across state-lines to provide rail service, and how the public can engage in supporting rail enhancements.

10:45 – 11:45am

Award Winning Plans and Projects
New and legacy programs at U.S. Department of Transportation have been instrumental in advancing passenger rail safety and development. Recipents of previous DOT grants will share lessons learned and impact of these programs.

  • Rich Scott, BNSF Railway, Assistant Director Public Projects
  • Rebecca Geyer, North Dakota Department of Transportation, Planning & Rail Manager
  • Jeff Schultz, David Evans & Associates, Senior Transit and Rail Planner
12:15 – 1:30pm

Keynote Luncheon: Transportation For America
Join John Robert Smith, Chairman of the Board for Transportation for America, as he discuss the national landscape of passenger rail throughout the United States. As a key passenger rail advocate, having worked at the city level to revitalize rail service in Meridian, Mississippi, and as a former board member both at the National Forum on the Future of Passenger Rail and Amtrak, Mr. Smith will share the history of rail service throughout the U.S., what's possible moving forward through the new federal rail investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, and how to further envision a national rail network that connects people to opportunities.

1:45 – 2:15pm

Implementing Effective Interstate Rail Compacts
Interstate compacts serve as a foundation for cooperation between states to plan, design and build regional rail networks. Panelists will share how compacts are formed and how states can benefit by working together.

3:30 – 4:30pm Optional Tour: Idaho Capitol Building
6:00 – 8:00pm GNWPRS Closing Reception
Boise Metro Chamber; 1101 W Front St.