VIDEO: FTA officially awards TriMet $87.4 million, puts the Division Transit Project on the road to high-capacity bus service

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Award brings start of construction on new, faster type of bus service between Downtown Portland, Southeast and East Portland and Gresham

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA), on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, officially awarded TriMet $87.4 million in federal funding for the Division Transit Project. The project will create a new type of high-capacity bus service to provide faster, more reliable trips between Downtown Portland, Southeast and East Portland and Downtown Gresham. The project’s total price tag is $175 million, half coming from the federal government and the remainder from local sources.

“FTA is proud to join our partners in Oregon to improve public transportation in Portland. The Division Transit Project will provide fast and efficient service, improving mobility and access to convenient transit service.”

FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams

“We thank the Acting Administrator Williams, the FTA and U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao for their support of transit in the Portland metro area and the Oregon Congressional Delegation who have consistently worked for investments that connect Oregonians to jobs, education and opportunity. With the federal funding now secured, TriMet can begin construction with our partners, the cities of Portland and Gresham, on this new type of service to move people faster and more efficiently.”

TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey
Division Transit Project construction kickoff event, Jan. 23, 2020

The construction on this new, high-capacity bus service for TriMet kicks off in the coming weeks as TriMet celebrates its 50th year of operations. The new service, with 60-foot articulated buses rolling down Division Street, is expected to begin in fall 2022.

Building a faster, more reliable type of high-capacity bus service


One of four station types to be used throughout the project based on location. Explore the station designs at trimet.org/division/stations.

The Division Transit Project will:

  • Reduce travel times up to 20%.
  • Run buses every 12 minutes and even more often during peak ridership times.
  • Some 28 blocks of dedicated bus/business access lanes to move buses around traffic at key locations, with an 11-block stretch eastbound from SE 111th to 122nd.
  • Upgrade traffic signals with transit signal priority.
  • Increase capacity on board with the use of 60-foot articulated buses.
  • Allow multiple-door boarding for shorter stops.

“This important investment is an example of how the Portland region is planning for the future, making transit a more attractive option and facilitating access between job centers and homes,” said Oregon’s U.S. Senator Ron Wyden. “Improving transit benefits the regional economy, reduces auto emissions and improves the quality of life for Oregonians.”

Increasing safety for people walking, biking and accessing transit

The Division Transit Project will bring:

  • Some 4.5 miles of protected bike lanes, with physical separation when possible.
  • Station designs to support safer interactions between buses and bicycles
  • Twenty new marked crosswalks with stop lights, median islands or flashing lights.
  • Upgrades and lighting improvements to existing pedestrian crossing signals.
  • Nearly 81,000 square feet of new sidewalks along the corridor (59,000 square feet in Portland and 22,000 square feet in Gresham).
  • Up to 42 enhanced bus stop stations with amenities such as lighting, seating, real-time bus arrival information and weather protection.

“People need a reliable way to get to work and school if they’re going to have a chance to get ahead in life,” said Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. “The Division Transit Project will put more jobs and educational opportunities within reach for Oregonians by making it safer and easier for residents to travel between Gresham and Portland by bike, on foot, or by bus. I’m looking forward to watching this project progress, and will continue to be a strong federal partner in helping more communities across Oregon secure the kind of federal funding that makes projects like this one possible.”

Paving the road to opportunity

The Division Transit Project will create:

  • More than 1,400 jobs, including 650 construction jobs and more than 780 indirect and induced jobs.
  • More than $137.7 million in added economic value in the corridor.
  • Oregon’s largest construction contract awarded to a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise – Raimore Construction.
  • More reliable commutes to work and school for tens of thousands of Oregonians.

“With this project, Portland is further cementing its legacy as one of the nation’s most livable communities,” said Oregon’s U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer. “It is critical that the federal government continues to support projects that provide access for underserved communities, move people more sustainably and improve safety.”

Division Transit Project brings connections, partnerships

The Division Transit Project will span 15 miles and two cities. Project partners have been working with the communities along the corridor since 2014 on the planning and design of the service and stations. Through these partnerships, transit, biking, walking and environmental improvements are on the map for Division Street, a main arterial between Gresham and Portland.

Line 2-Division bus serving a stop on SW Madison Street in Downtown Portland during the evening.

TriMet’s current Line 2-Division is a high ridership line, with more than 9,100 trips a day. Buses currently run in heavily congested conditions at times, delaying buses and increasing the time trips take. The high-capacity bus service coming with the Division Transit Project will move riders around the congestion more efficiently and improve connections to jobs and education centers such as OHSU, Portland State University, Portland Community College and Mt. Hood Community College. It will also bring more service to East County. Resources for the Line 2 that runs along Division today, will be dedicated to other bus lines serving the east side.

The Division Transit Project will make street improvements that create a better environment for those on foot and bike, as well as improve storm water treatments. In partnership, the cities of Portland and Gresham plan coordinated infrastructure improvements, including the City of Portland’s Outer Division Multimodal Safety Project, which will bring much-needed safety enhancements along the corridor.

“Thank you to Congressman Blumenauer for your role in creating the Small Starts Program that is funding this project and to senators Wyden and Merkley for your strong advocacy in Washington,” said Portland Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. “The Division Transit Project will not just improve public transit, it will deliver vital pedestrian and biking improvements, prioritize accessibility, and make Division safer for all Portlanders. We know that in order to meet our climate goals we need to increase transit ridership—this rapid, reliable, high-capacity bus service will make transit a more viable option for more people.”

“We are very excited to see this significant federal investment in our transportation infrastructure,” said Gresham City Councilor Karylinn Echols. “This new mode of transportation will enhance Gresham’s link to the region, and just as importantly, enhance the region’s link to Gresham’s vibrancy and opportunity.”

Get construction updates

Construction of the Division Transit Project will occur in four sections, with work beginning in the coming weeks. The project will minimize impacts to businesses and residents both during construction and after the transit line opens.

Sign up for updates about the construction at trimet.org/email. Once you register, you will see a list of topics that you can sign up for. Scroll down to the Division Transit Project section and click on the segment of the project that interests you.

Any impacts to bus service in the area will be posted at trimet.org/alerts as they occur. Impacts to people driving, biking and walking will be posted at trimet.org/division.

A Division of Possibilities

Division Street offers a diverse mix of shops, restaurants and other retail possibilities. The Division Transit Project team has worked closely with partners and community to minimize impacts to businesses and residents both during construction and after the transit line opens. TriMet and the local neighborhoods invite those living nearby as well as those throughout the region to come and experience the corridor during construction and beyond.

Funding the Division Transit Project

The Division Transit Project cost is estimated at $175 million. TriMet thanks all our funding partners: FTA, City of Portland, City of Gresham, Metro, Oregon Department of Transportation and Multnomah County.

  • Federal – 5309 Small Starts Funds: $87,413,949.93
  • Federal – Other Funds (STBG, CMAQ, SPR): $27,913,500.69
  • Local – TriMet: $40,750,450.11
  • Local – City of Portland: $17,730,000.42
  • Local – Gresham: $500,000.00
  • Local – Metro: $240,000.00
  • Local – ODOT: $150,000.00
  • Local – Multnomah County: $130,000.00
  • TOTAL = $174,827,901.15

The $87.4 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration comes from its Small Starts capital investment grants program. This will be a one-time lump sum payment known as a single year grant agreement. Congressman Blumenauer helped create the Small Starts Program, which this project is funded under, and Senator Merkley strongly advocated for this project in his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee.