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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TriMet's MAX Green Line opens, connecting three counties by light rail

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TriMet's MAX Green Line in Portland, Ore., opened to the public on Saturday, September 12 and reached a major milestone of connecting all three counties by light rail. TriMet's fifth MAX line extends from downtown Portland to Clackamas County. More than 40,000 trips were taken on the new Green Line on opening day.

Construction of the 8.3-mile line began in early 2007 and adds a second light rail alignment through downtown Portland along 5th and 6th avenues between Union Station and Portland State University, and new tracks along I-205 to Clackamas Town Center.

The project was built on time and on budget. The MAX system now expands to a 52-mile system with 84 stations.

"Whenever we open a new MAX line, we see it serve as a multiplier," said TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen. "Ridership throughout the entire system increases as more people are connected to more places. This project could not have happened without our local, state and federal partners, who continue to invest in the mobility and livability of our region."

U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader attended opening ceremonies, and congratulated the region on providing more sustainable transportation choices.

The $575.7-million project was built with 60 percent federal funds, and the balance funded by the city of Portland, Metro, TriMet, Clackamas County and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

"The Green Line project not only embodies the President's agenda for livability, it embodies President Obama's agenda for economic recovery," said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. "Portland continues to show us the way when it comes to deploying well developed projects with wide public support-and getting them done on time and on budget."

Part of the project included revitalizing the downtown Portland Transit Mall with new art, shelters and a more vibrant retail environment. The city of Portland and TriMet are also creating a fund for ongoing maintenance, security and programming activities on the Mall.

Much of the Green Line along I-205 was built in an existing transitway that was built when the adjacent I-205 freeway was being built back in the 1970s.

"We are thrilled to welcome light rail to Clackamas County, and we invite people from throughout the region to ride the Green Line to experience all the County has to offer," said Lynn Peterson, Chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners.  "Light rail is an integral part of our efforts to expand the county's transportation choices, as is the improved multi-purpose path along the Green Line which provides people with even more opportunities to enjoy the beauty and amenities of Clackamas County."

MAX Green Line service started regular scheduled service on Sunday, September 13. Trains run every 15 minutes most hours, and every 30 minutes in the early morning and late evenings.

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