Seattle-area and Vancouver tech leaders announced Tuesday collaborations to improve transportation between the two cities, including progress on a high speed rail line and a possible seaplane route.
The announcements were made at the Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference in Seattle.
A new cross-border startup accelerator partnership was also announced between British Columbia, Washington state, and Oregon.
Microsoft President Brad Smith called for collaboration with Vancouver B.C. companies.
“I think there’s such an opportunity to shrink the distance between Vancouver and Seattle,” said Smith. “With over time better roads, better rail, better air connections, that will enable us to work more closely together.”
Microsoft has also donated money to data research, including a study that found about one-third of Seattle drivers ‘cruise’ for parking or are ridesharing drivers waiting for ride assignments.
Smith also reiterated his support for his company’s 39 "Dreamer" employees. He wrote a blog post criticizing President Donald Trump’s plan last week to end DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
“Immigration is important for our ability to attract talent, but more than that, we have 39 employees who are Dreamers and we’re not going to sit by and allow any government to deport 39 of our employees without taking every legal measure we can,” he said.
“I think we have a different political environment nationally in the United States than we did a year ago,” he continued. “But what is also striking is the shared values between Washington state and British Columbia.”
“We have such an opportunity in this corner of this country to look across the border and work with people across the border,” said Smith.
Ryan Holmes, CEO of Vancouver-based Hootsuite, said he agreed with Smith’s message.
“I think it’s a fantastic stand. I think it’s an important message. It’s real leadership,” said Holmes.