U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced an agreement for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to provide $745.2 million to the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) for the Portland-Milwaukie light rail project, which will significantly expand transit options and create easier commutes between downtown Portland and the Milwaukie suburbs.
"Portland's commitment to public transportation and its visionary light rail and streetcar services have made it one of the most livable, sustainable and economically vibrant cities in America," said Secretary LaHood. "The Portland-Milwaukie light rail project will bring more great transportation options to people in the region, create thousands of jobs during construction and boost economic development along the new line for years to come."
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff signed the full-funding grant agreement during a ceremony in Portland. The FTA grant clears the way for TriMet to begin construction of the light rail extension and covers half of the total cost of the $1.49 billion project.
"The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project will make a huge difference in the quality of life of thousands of people in the greater Portland area, connect residents in north Clackamas County to jobs downtown and breathe new life into older neighborhoods like Brooklyn," said Administrator Rogoff. "This project demonstrates the power of public transportation to help transform a major American city for the 21st century."
Federal Transit Administrator Rogoff was joined by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, Portland Mayor Sam Adams, TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane and other local officials.
According to TriMet, more than 14,500 jobs are expected to be created during construction of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project, which includes construction of 10 new stations and a new transit bridge over the Willamette River to facilitate the 7.3-mile expansion of light rail service from Portland State University, across the river and into Milwaukie and north Clackamas County.
The project also supports pedestrian and bicycle improvements creating additional options for people to get around. TriMet's MAX light rail service is scheduled to begin in 2015.