Washington County, Oregon/Wilsonville-Beaverton Commuter Rail
Wilsonville-Beaverton Commuter Rail
Washington County, Oregon
Washington County, Oregon, in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Tri-County Metropolitan District of Oregon (Tri-Met), Portland Metro (Metro), Clackamas County, and the cities of Wilsonville, Tualatin, Tigard and Beaverton, are proposing to design and construct a 15-mile commuter rail line in the Wilsonville-Beaverton Corridor. The proposed project would operate along portions of existing Union-Pacific railroad tracks and connect to Metro’s existing Westside light rail system at the Beaverton Transit Center (BTC). As part of the proposed project, approximately 2,000 feet of new railroad trackage will be constructed at the northern terminus of the alignment near the BTC. The proposed project also includes the purchase of eight passenger rail cars, the construction of vehicle maintenance and dispatch facilities and multiple capital improvements. The proposed commuter rail project is estimated to have 4,650 average weekday boardings.
The Wilsonville-Beaverton Corridor extends from the City of Wilsonville northwest to Beaverton, Oregon. The northern portion of the corridor is owned by the Union-Pacific railroad, while the southern portion is owned by ODOT. The corridor will connect the two cities with several outlying jurisdictions. Five commuter rail stations are planned along the alignment. All proposed stations, with the exception the BTC station, will have park-and-ride facilities. Total capital cost for the commuter rail project is estimated at $82.8 million (escalated dollars), with a proposed Section 5309 new starts share of $24.9 million. Since the proposed New Starts share is less than $25 million, the project is exempt from evaluation under the New Starts criteria (see 49 USC Section 5309(e)(8)(A)).
In May 1997, Phase I of the Washington County Interurban Rail Feasibility Study was completed. The study determined that there were no technical, regulatory or legal issues that would prevent the implementation of a commuter rail line in the Wilsonville-Beaverton Corridor. Phase I resulted in the Oregon Legislature’s approval to fund the initiation of a Phase II study to determine if the use of existing Union-Pacific freight railroad trackage offered a transportation solution significant enough to warrant the required capital and operating cost investments. Phase II was commissioned by interested jurisdictions located in the eastern portion of Washington County and was completed in April 1999. In June 2000, the Washington County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted commuter rail as the locally preferred alternative (LPA) for the corridor. The affected local governments also passed resolutions adopting the LPA. The project is also supported by the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) as one of its regional transportation priorities for seeking Federal funding in 2000. FTA approved Washington County’s request to enter preliminary engineering on the project in July 2000. In July 2000, FTA authorized publication of the Draft EA. The project was adopted into the Long Range Plan in June 1999. In August 2000, the Metro Council adopted the financially constrained Regional Transportation Plan, which includes the Wilsonville-Beaverton commuter rail project.
The Wilsonville-Beaverton commuter rail project is not authorized in TEA-21. Through FY 2001, Congress has appropriated $1.47 million in Section 5309 new starts funds to the project.