Portland, Oregon: New streetcar line finally gets federal funding


Portland streetcar 1

Light Rail Now! NewsLog
17 June 2009

Portland, Oregon: New streetcar line finally gets federal funding

Portland, Oregon:

 After years of federal stalling by the previous Bush administration, Portland’s new streetcar line has finally received a go- ahead to proceed … from the Obama administration. On 30 April 2009, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $75 million in federal funds for the Portland Streetcar Loop Project (formerly called the Eastside Extension), approved as part of the recent federal appropriations bill.

Not only does this represent a significant unclogging of Portland’s streetcar funding logjam, but also this is the first streetcar project in the USA to receive substantial federal funding.

The streetcar system is owned and operated by the City of Portland, in partnership with the Tri- County Metropolitan Transportation District (TriMet), which operates and maintains the streetcars and contributes a portion of operating funds. The City of Portland contracts with Portland Streetcar, Inc., a non-profit corporation, to manage the development, construction and operation of the streetcar system.

Portland’s Loop Project is a 3.3-mile (5.3-km) double-track extension of the streetcar east from downtown Portland over the city’s Broadway Bridge and south along Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and then back up the way it came on a parallel street, Grand. The new line will serve project 28 additional streetcar stations.

The ultimate goal is to complete the loop by crossing back downtown over a new Willamette River bridge proposed as part of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project.

For a detailed map, see:

The total cost of the project, including the vehicles, is estimated at $147 million a total of about $44.5 million per mile ($27.7 million/km). Per a report in The Oregonian of April 30th, construction of infrastructure (i.e., less rolling stock and other items) is estimated at about $77 million and infrastructure construction cost of about $27.3 million/mile ($14.5

According to another April 30th report in the Portland Business Journal, most of the federal funding about $45 million comes from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA’s) Small Starts program, generally aimed at assisting smaller-scale urban transit projects. Small Starts, combined with a similar New Starts program aimed at larger-scale transit projects, received $750 million from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, more widely known as the federal stimulus bill. This award speeds up allocation of the money under the Small Starts program but does not add new funds.




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