Amid the usual hoopla, Tri-Met opened its latest and greatest light rail line; a $1.3 billion, 7.3-mile stretch from Portland to Milwaukie. The good news for taxpayers is that this line should be the end of it. No new light rail lines are likely to be built because the transit development agency has run out of other peoples' money; federal transportation dollars are running dry, meaning that they're unlikely to continue to pony up for multibillion-dollar rail projects in the foreseeable future.
Currently on track, so to speak, is a bus rapid transit (BRT) line
from Portland to Gresham along the southeast streets of Powell and
Division. Evidently, the light rail line from Portland to Gresham has
been insufficient. So it appears that Tri-Met will end up, in the long
run, relying more on buses and less on rail.
Nonetheless, even as funding goes away, the agency continues work on
their Southwest Corridor Plan, which they hope would ram another light
rail line through from Portland to Tigard - but just in case, they're
looking at BRT as an alternative. Ultimately, they want to run from
Portland through Tigard and on into Tualatin. They'd really like to run
rail through there at an estimated cost of $2.2 billion, give or take
half a billion, but there's a fair amount of resistance over here; in
light of the way the agency ram-rodded light rail into Milwaukie, voters
in Tigard and Tualatin passed preemptive measures requiring the
governments to obtain voter approval prior to attempting construction.
In any case, it'll take years for them to build anything out -
they're looking at 2035 before anything's completed. By then, they
assume that the population will increase by 400,000. Of course, they
made the same claim 20 years ago; that didn't materialize either.
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