Thursday, June 07, 2012

Milwaukie, Ore., sets LRT payment plan

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Portland, Ore., suburb Milwaukie has approved a plan to pay off $4.1 million it owes to TriMet over the next 19 years, though the particulars for payment are not yet all resolved.

Milwaukie owes $5 million for its share of the Portland-Milwaukie light rail line, now under construction and slated to open in September 2015. The city had 90 days to figure out how to pay TriMet after the Federal Transit Administration last month committed $745.2 million in federal funds toward the cost of the $1.5 billion project.

The plan, passed by Milwaukie City Council Tuesday, would advance a bond measure to go to voters in May 2013. Prior to that, Milwaukie's first payment, which amounts to $360,099, is due before September, with payments for the first couple of likely to come from the city's general fund. If the proposed bond measure is rejected, city officials said they would cut services to make the payments.

As part of the LRT project, Milwaukie has sought infrastructure enhancements and other changes, including quiet zone improvements, public art installations, and revamped sidewalks, crosswalks, and intersections.

“We heard loud and clear from our residents that they wanted protection from the noise and vibration of trains— not just light rail trains, but freight trains too,” said Council President Greg Chaimov. “This agreement helps us meet that goal.”

Stretching 7.3 miles, the Portland-Milwaukie LRT route will link Portland State University in downtown Portland, inner Southeast Portland, Milwaukie, and north Clackamas County.