FTA commits $745.2 million for Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project

Posted: 22 May 2012 | Kellie Randall, TriMet | No comments yet

Federal funds to pay 50% of project costs; full construction along 7.3-mile route begins…

Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff today signed an agreement to provide $745.2 million for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project (PMLR). This commits the Federal government to provide 50 percent of the cost of the $1.49 billion project.

Administrator Rogoff was joined today by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and all local project partners.

“The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Extension is critical for continued economic growth in the Portland metro area,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “Improved transit creates new customer bases for the downtown core and reduces congestion for commuters across the region. I am thrilled to see that the U.S. Department of Transportation has once again recognized the metro area’s record of innovative transportation planning.”

The project will create up to 14,500 direct and indirect jobs and generate up to $573 million in personal earnings.

“This line will provide much-needed connections in south Portland, a part of the city where transportation access is extremely constrained,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “The project will unlock development, connect major institutions and spur job creation. We are grateful to the Federal Transit Administration, our Congressional delegation, and our local partners for bringing this long-held vision to reality.”

The PMLR is the region’s sixth MAX construction project and will expand the rail system to 60 miles.

TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane noted that, “This commitment now moves the project into full construction creating thousands of jobs when we most need them and expands our transit network for the future.”

After a decade of planning and community outreach, project partners today celebrated the final agreement necessary before full construction gets under way. Some long-lead items, such as the Light Rail Bridge, began construction earlier to maintain the project schedule.

“Our region has been able to build large, critical transportation projects because we work together,” said Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette. “No single city or county could have provided half the cost of this project, but together, we’ve been able to match the federal support to expand transportation options in our region.”

Federal and local funds make up more than 95 percent of the cost of construction; TriMet’s share is less than 5 percent. The PMLR project is the second MAX extension into Clackamas County after the MAX Green Line opened in 2009.

Milwaukie Mayor Jeremy Ferguson added, “We are pleased to have the final commitment in hand to help link Milwaukie with the rest of the region.”

About the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project

The 7.3-mile project is the region’s sixth MAX construction project to be built and extends from the terminus of the MAX Green and Yellow lines at Portland State University in Downtown Portland to South Waterfront, SE Portland, Milwaukie and North Clackamas County. About the project:

  • 7.3 miles
  • 10 stations
  • The first of its kind multi-modal bridge over the over the Willamette River that will carry light rail, buses, bikes, pedestrians and a future Portland Streetcar extension, but no private vehicles.
  • Opens in September 2015
  • Expands the MAX system to 60 miles and 97 stations

Project partners

Clackamas County, Metro, City of Milwaukie, Multnomah County, City of Oregon City, Oregon Department of Transportation, City of Portland, Portland Development Commission and TriMet.

For more information about the project, visit

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