Portland State University Mall Ceremony
Remarks: Administrator James S. Simpson
Thank you. I am proud to be back in Oregon on behalf of President George W. Bush and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters.
When I was here in January, I rode the light rail, the aerial tram and the streetcar. I discovered a fully integrated system that was clean, efficient, innovative and safe – a system that tempts people to leave their cars at home. So, it is a great honor for me to be here to celebrate this milestone in extending the Max light rail system with the announcement of the Federal Transit Administration’s investment of $345.4 million dollars.
This project is the result of a long-term regional commitment to public transportation. Over 30 years ago, the State of Oregon and the Federal Highway Administration had a vision of the population growth this county would experience. So, when they designed Interstate 205, they preserved space for a future transit-way through what were mostly undeveloped land and agricultural fields.
Now, this corridor is home to many residences and thriving businesses and their vision is paying off. Residents of this area will continue to enjoy a wonderful quality of life along with the many benefits of economic growth without having to cope with the stagnating effects of congestion.
The Bush Administration and the Department of Transportation recognize that congestion is a growing problem that is robbing Americans of valuable time with their families, reducing air quality and harming the economy. With America’s population and economy growing at a rapid pace, the Bush Administration understands that rail and other transit services must play a role in shaping and sustaining the development of our communities.
We also know that while local funds and passenger fares account for most of the revenue needed to operate transit systems, the federal government is a key partner, especially for major capital investments. So, we are investing record amounts of money in public transportation to help communities make transit affordable and accessible for all Americans.
Currently, there are more residents in Clackamas County than there are jobs. So, our investment in this project will make it easier for the Clackamas residents to travel to their jobs; thus, alleviating congestion and bolstering the economy. This project will link Clackamas County to employment opportunities and to the airport. It will also improve mobility options for students at Portland State and Amtrak travelers at Union Station.
In addition to serving as a gateway to opportunity, the light rail is also creating opportunity. Clackamas County, Multnomah County, the City of Portland and TriMet are working with private partners to revitalize areas along the light rail route and assist businesses in taking advantage of a source of new customers.
The Federal Transit Administration is proud to be part of a project that fuels economic growth, alleviates congestion and, most importantly, keeps Oregonians on the move.