Portland, Oregon/Interstate MAX LRT Extension
Interstate MAX LRT Extension
The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (Tri-Met) is proposing a 5.8-mile extension of its Light Rail Transit (LRT) system known locally as the Metropolitan Area Express (MAX). The proposed Interstate MAX line will extend existing LRT service northward from the Rose Quarter and the Oregon Convention Center, to North Portland neighborhoods, medical facilities, the Portland International Raceway and the Metropolitan Exposition Center. Goals of the alignment include complementing regional land use plans by connecting established residential, commercial, entertainment, and other major activity centers, and providing a key transportation link in the regionís welfare-to-work programs. The LRT extension is estimated to cost $350 million (escalated dollars) and carry 18,100 average weekday boardings, including 8,400 new riders, by 2020.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved preliminary engineering on the 12-mile South-North LRT in April 1996. In February 1998, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was completed for the project.
In November 1998, voters rejected an affirmation of a $475 million General Obligation bond measure previously approved to fund construction of the South-North LRT. Consequently, Tri-Met re-evaluated alternative alignments and funding strategies to implement the system. A Supplemental DEIS for the north alignment of the proposed South-North LRT was completed in April 1999. In June 1999, Tri-Met passed a resolution endorsing capital funding for the Interstate MAX project and the City of Portland approved a resolution committing $30 million to the project. The Final EIS on the Interstate MAX project was completed in October 1999, and a Record of Decision was issued in January 2000. Final design approval, coupled with pre-award authority, was given in February 2000. FTA and Tri-Met signed a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) in September 2000. The project will complete final design in early 2001. Construction activity has begun on utility relocation, with major project facilitiesí work to begin in 2001.
TEA-21 Section 3030(a)(66) authorizes the Portland South-North Corridor LRT (Interstate MAX) for final design and construction. Through FY 2001, Congress has appropriated $7.42 million in Section 5309 New Starts funds for the project, with an additional $8.96 million appropriated to the project, but not included in the scope of the FFGA.