TriMet and Metro to extend Blue Line to Central Oregon

Today, TriMet president Neil McFarlane and Metro president Tom Hughes announced the start of a new transit project, the Hood and Central Oregon Corridor.  This project, a 210-mile (338km) extension of the Blue Line, would provide light rail service to Sandy, Mount Hood, Madras, Redmond, Bend, and Sunriver.  The line would end at a transit center in Chemult, Oregon, where riders may transfer to the Amtrak Coast Starlight for service to Klamath Falls and points in California.   The proposed project, a direct result of the approval of Ballot Measure 91 by Oregon voters last Novemeber, is estimated to cost between $35B-$40B; the project is scheduled for opening in 2042.

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Great Eight Open Thread

The Great Eight in the NCAA tourney are now set, the Final Four will be decided by Sunday. Time for another Open Thread.

  • Oregon Business encourages greater private-sector (and public/private) participation in transit.
  • The population of the Portland/Vancouver MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) is now estimated to be 2.35M.  (Note:  The “MSA” is defined to include all of Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Columbia, Yamhill, Clark, and Skamania counties, so it’s considerably bigger than the contiguous urbanized area on both sides of the river).
  • TriMet is starting to add new 30′ buses for its routes in the West Hills.   The agency is also extending Line 8 to MLK Jr. where it can connect with the 6.
  • Washington County and Hillsboro considering some welcome road improvements.
  • The C-TRAN BRT line for Fourth Plain Boulevard has a new nameThe Vine.
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Broaden uses of Oregon Gas Taxes?

Doug Allen retired after 35 years with TriMet Service Planning and Scheduling and belongs to AORTA. He is a long time supporter of good transit and land use planning, and lives in SE Portland.

Senate Joint Resolution 16 would refer a constitutional amendment to Oregon voters in November 2016 that relaxes constraints on the use of motor vehicle revenues. A hearing is tentatively scheduled before the Senate Business and Transportation committee on Monday, March 30, at 1:00 pm.

In brief, this amendment adds to the list of allowable uses: “Surface transportation infrastructure that reduces the traffic burden of, or pollution from, motor vehicles on public highways, roads and streets in this state.”

It covers construction and operation of certain bus, rail, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities, but not aviation or waterway projects.

Follow SJR 16 here: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Measures/Overview/SJR16

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New info on the Southwest Corridor options

Lately, the Powell/Division project has been getting much of the press, with significant public outreach in advance of next week’s Steering Committee meeting.  But the Southwest Corridor project–a project that is on a far longer timetable–has been making some advances as well.   This past week, three new documents were published by the project team:

While there are many details to be worked out, one of the key sets of decisions to be made–and this may not be made for a while, as the DEIS process may include multiple options for analysis–are the mode (BRT or light rail) and the various tunneling options.

More after the jump.

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