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Monday, April 19, 2010

TriMet to receive $2.4 million to develop streetcar propulsion system

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said that Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) of Portland, Ore., will receive $2.4 million in federal research funds to support the development of streetcar components that will be made in the U.S.A. 

TriMet will use the funds to support the development of a domestically-produced streetcar propulsion system, as well as initial work to develop a streetcar that can operate for short distances without power from overhead wires, allowing the potential for streetcar service to be introduced where historic, environmental, or other concerns limit the installation of overhead wires.

The work will be done by the Clackamas, Ore.-based manufacturer Oregon Iron Works, the parent company of United Streetcar LLC.

"FTA is proud to be a leading partner in this innovative project," said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. "Funds for this project will help create streetcar manufacturing jobs right here at home, as well as a new domestic technology base that capitalizes on American ingenuity."

At present there is no domestic manufacturer of streetcar propulsion systems. The propulsion system represents about 20 percent of the total cost of a vehicle. The FTA will fund 80 percent of the $3-million project, with a local match of $600,000. Last year, the company unveiled the first domestically-built streetcar in 58 years. The company currently uses propulsion systems made in Eastern Europe.

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