TriMet’s MAX Red Line extension to Hillsboro moving forward

by

Project will increase TriMet’s MAX Red Line service, improve reliability and provide better connections

MAX Red Line train at Portland International Airport

TriMet’s plans to extend the MAX Red Line to Hillsboro, and add a second track to sections of the Red Line near Portland International Airport and Gateway Transit Center, are moving forward. On Wednesday, April 24, 2019, the TriMet Board of Directors voted to adopt two resolutions – necessary steps in the process as we look to move into the Project Development phase and finalize funding for the project.

One of the resolutions approved the Locally Preferred Alternative, the final plan agreed upon by the community for presentation to the Federal Transit Administration. The second resolution authorizes TriMet to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Port of Portland. The agreement commits TriMet to continue funding further design of the project, and to work with the FTA on the total cost estimates and benefits of the project. This is the next step towards securing funding from the FTA that could pay for half of the $200 million project, with TriMet paying the other half. When complete, the project will provide better connections and a more reliable ride system-wide.

Extending service in Beaverton and Hillsboro

TriMet’s MAX Red Line runs between Beaverton Transit Center and Portland International Airport. The plan is to extend the line ten stations to the west, to run between the Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport Station and Portland’s airport. The MAX Blue Line currently is the only light rail service west of Beaverton Transit Center and trains are often crowded during peak travel times. With continuing growth in both housing and jobs in Washington County, the request for more MAX service along the corridor between Hillsboro and Beaverton Transit Center is increasing and the extension would double service in that area most hours of the day.

The expanded service requires improving track and switches, upgrading the signal system and building an operator break facility at the Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport Station. We also plan to add up to eight new light rail vehicles to accommodate the extended service, and make improvements to our Ruby Junction maintenance facility in Gresham, where the trains are serviced.

Improving system-wide reliability

Proposed second MAX Red Line track near Gateway Transit Center

The MAX Red Line project will also improve system-wide reliability by adding a second track to sections of the line in northeast Portland where currently there is only a single track. Delayed Red Line trains between Gateway/NE 99th Ave Transit Center and Portland International Airport can affect MAX Blue and Green line trains that also pass through Gateway Transit Center. Even small delays can have a domino effect that spreads throughout the system. The addition of a second track will improve train flow through Gateway Transit Center and reduce delays for all MAX riders.

Project planning and history

TriMet’s MAX Red Line provides vital connections within our region. Planning for the extension began with the Westside Service Enhancement Plan in 2013. The reliability improvements were later added to help meet TriMet’s goals for improving the on-time performance of the light rail system. Following both broad public and focused stakeholder outreach in 2017 and 2018, the project has now moved into the process of applying for FTA funding. Construction is expected to begin in 2021-2022 with opening about two years later.

Making Transit Better

TriMet’s MAX Red Line Extension and Reliability Improvements Project is part of our commitment to make transit better, with ongoing upgrades to tracks, stations and vehicles that improve reliability and make the ride more comfortable. We work with riders, residents, neighborhood groups, governments, schools and businesses to plan improvements to transit service system-wide.