TriMet’s ‘A Better Red’ Receiving $99.1MM CIG Grant

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded a $99.9 million construction grant to the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) for its 7.8-mile MAX Red Line extension project in the Portland metro area.

The grant is provided through FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program.

Dubbed  “A Better Red,” the TriMet project, whose design was completed earlier this year, has a total cost of $215 million. The price tag also includes four new Siemens light rail vehicles to accommodate additional service.

The project will expand MAX Red Line service west, helping to link Beaverton, Portland International Airport and the Gateway Transit Center, and providing a one-seat ride from Hillsboro to the airport (see maps below). This will allow the Red Line to serve 10 additional stations that are currently served only by the Blue Line. They are Beaverton Central, Millikan Way, Beaverton Creek, Merlo/SW 158th, Elmonica/SW 170th Ave., Willow Creek/SW 185th TC, Quatama, Orenco, Hawthorn Farm, and Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport. An operator break facility will also be added at the Red Line’s new terminus in Hillsboro.

The light rail project will add a second track to two single-track sections of the Red Line near Gateway/NE 99th Ave Transit Center and Portland International Airport. “Using the existing single track, delayed Red Line trains affect Green and Blue line trains passing through Gateway—even small delays can have a domino effect that spreads throughout the system,” according to TriMet. “A second Red Line track would separate airport-bound trains from trains heading to City Center, Beaverton and Hillsboro.” With the second track, the project will also rebuild the Portland International Airport MAX Station and construct a new station at the Gateway/NE 99th Ave Transit Center, according to FTA.

Construction near the Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport Station and in the Gateway area is slated to begin this fall, and at Portland International Airport in early 2022. The new Red Line service in Beaverton and Hillsboro is scheduled to open in fall 2024, according to TriMet.

“FTA is proud to join our partners in Oregon to expand light rail service and improve transit connections in Portland and other important destinations,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez, who will join TriMet and other state and local officials at a project groundbreaking event on Sept. 28.

FTA’s CIG Program provides funding for major transit infrastructure capital investments nationwide. Projects accepted into the program must go through a multi-year, multi-step process to be eligible for consideration to receive program funds, according to FTA.

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