This morning, I joined Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) Administrator Peter Rogoff to sign the construction grant agreement and finalize the Portland Streetcar expansion, unleashing $75 million in federal funds to extend Portland’s existing downtown streetcar line across the Willamette River and into the East side of the city.
This final step in funding the Portland Streetcar expansion has great symbolism. Small Starts, a program I passed through Congress in 2003, is being put to work and funding the first-ever streetcar project right here in Portland. The $75 million released today is a down-payment on Portland’s future that will create 1,300 high-wage jobs, spur development, and jumpstart Oregon’s economy.
Streetcars not only improve quality of life, giving people more transportation options, but they have real economic and environmental benefits. While the Small Starts program languished under President Bush, the Obama administration – under the leadership of Administrator Rogoff and Secretary LaHood – acted quickly to get this project moving.
With more than 80 streetcar projects underway across the nation, Small Starts provides a federal funding source for communities working to provide more commuting options and reduce their dependence on oil. Today’s announcement should make clear that the new administration is committed to rebuilding America, investing in our infrastructure, and recovering the nation’s economy.
Today is a great day for the streetcar! Thanks for everything that you did along the way to help make this possible.
Member of Congress