Yesterday the Portland Development Commission got their briefing on the Locally Preferred Alternative for Eastside Streetcar (the tour of local governments continues – this morning JPACT will review the LPA and make a recommendation to the finally adopting body, the Metro Council).
Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams led off the discussion and after reviewing the benefits Streetcar has delivered on the west side (including catalyzing $2.4B of private investment) didn’t mince words: “I’m hear to advocate with you for $25 Million from across four urban renewal areas: Convention Center, Central Eastside, River District and Downtown Waterfront.” Sam went on to be clear that part of the reason City Council raised the maximum indebtedness on the Central Eastside district $16M more than PDC recommended was to help make sure there were funds for both the Burnside/Couch couplet and the Streetcar.
By the way, the reason two west side districts are listed is that one effect of the Eastside Streetcar, which will run from PSU or RiverPlace to at least the Lloyd District and ultimately to OMSI and then back across the river, is that it will double the frequency of Streetcar in downtown and the Pearl District.
The three PDC commissioners (two seats are currently vacant) seemed to get the message. Chair Rosenbaum asked what budget years the funds needed to be planned for (he also asked when we would know if the Federal money wasn’t going to happen so the URA funds could be reprogrammed for other uses – Sam didn’t have an immediate answer but agreed to figure that out).
The answer to the Chair’s question is that the funds would need to be commited before we apply for the Federal funds, probably in about a year.