TriMet Board responds to Clackamas County regarding light rail project and County’s role

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TriMet Board President Bruce Warner today responded to the Clackamas County Commission’s recent letter regarding the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project.

In a letter issued on behalf of the entire Board, Warner reminded the Commission that the project is the result of over a decade of collaboration with partners from all levels of government, including Clackamas County. The County has been an active partner from inception to final design, and voted to approve the project alignment in 2009 and funding in 2010, “…and pledged the County’s good faith and best efforts to assure its completion.”

Read Warner’s letter to Clackamas County Commission Chair Ludlow

County commitment

Clackamas County has contributed $19.9 million toward the $1.49 billion project. The County also agreed to $2.6 million of in-kind contributions for road work and engineering fees, which are pending. The project is 35 percent complete with construction activity underway along the entire alignment from downtown Portland to Clackamas County. Any delay to the project south of the City of Milwaukie would cost the project $65,000 per day.

“At this point, no modifications as to scope are possible and there is no ‘funding uncertainty’ that would change the Project’s ‘key elements’.”

Warner expressed disappointment that the County is considering submitting the project to a vote, “…that will have no practical effect on the County’s duty to fulfill its contractual obligations for the Project. We believe that the County Counsel accurately assessed measure 3-401 as prospective in its application only and that no aspect of the Project requires a vote, nor would a vote relieve the county of its obligations. Those obligations include the duty to fully cooperate with TriMet and other regional partners to ensure that the Project proceeds on time, as designed, and in accordance with the agreements of the parties.”

Warner suggested a neutral third party weigh in on the County’s obligations to the project.

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 will carry light rail, buses, bikes, pedestrians and a future Portland Streetcar extension over the Willamette River, but no private vehicles.
  • The Federal government is funding 50 percent of the $1.49 billion project; TriMet’s share is less than 5 percent.
  • Opens in September 2015
  • Expands the MAX system to 60 miles and 97 stations

Project partners

The Federal Transit Administration, State of Oregon, Clackamas County, Metro, City of Milwaukie, Multnomah County, City of Oregon City, Oregon Department of Transportation, City of Portland, Portland Development Commission and TriMet.