Contact: Angela Gates
PORTLAND, Ore. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today celebrated the opening of the Portland-Milwaukie light rail project, otherwise known as the MAX Orange Line. The new service will significantly expand transit options and create easier commutes for thousands of residents traveling between downtown Portland and the Milwaukie suburbs. FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan was joined at a grand opening event by Congressional, state and local elected officials, as well as representatives from the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet).
“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 U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The Obama Administration is proud to partner with Oregon, TriMet and all of the local project partners to expand light rail service and bring more transportation options to residents throughout the region, improving access to jobs and educational institutions.”
The 7.3-mile expansion of light rail service includes Tilikum Crossing – the only multimodal bridge of its kind in the country – dedicated exclusively to carrying MAX light rail trains, buses, streetcars, bicyclists and pedestrians across the Willamette River. The bridge will provide a direct link to important destinations such as Portland’s South Waterfront area, home to Oregon Health Sciences University Waterfront Campus, Portland’s Aerial Tram, and Portland State University, and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
“The MAX Orange Line will make a huge difference in the quality of life for thousands of people in the greater Portland area, offering a one-of-a-kind, world-class travel option between north Clackamas County and downtown Portland,” said Acting Administrator McMillan. “This project demonstrates the power of public transportation to help transform a major American city and bring 21st century transportation options to a growing population and future generations.”
According to TriMet, the new light rail line is expected to provide 22,800 average weekday trips by 2030. In addition to Tilikum Crossing, the project included construction of 10 new light rail stations, two park-and ride-facilities, an expanded maintenance facility, and procurement of 18 new light rail vehicles manufactured by Siemens Transportation Systems and made in the U.S.A.
FTA contributed $745.2 million for the Portland-Milwaukie light rail extension through its Capital Investment Grant Program, covering half of the total project cost of $1.49 billion. The remaining cost was covered by state and local sources.