TriMet awarded $25 million for future home of zero-emissions bus and training operations


RAISE grant is vital for future Columbia Operations Facility to support TriMet’s goal of 100% clean energy buses by 2040

Artistic rendering of the future TriMet Columbia Operations Facility in Northeast Portland.

A federal grant will help move TriMet closer to our goal of a zero-emissions bus fleet — a necessary step for not only our agency to meet climate action goals, but for achieving state and regional greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets as well.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $25 million from its Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program to TriMet. The grant is dedicated for our future Columbia Operations Facility in Northeast Portland. TriMet purchased the industrial site at Northeast 42nd Avenue and Columbia Boulevard in 2018, for development as our fourth bus facility.

This grant supports our goal of moving to a 100% zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040. The Columbia Operations Facility is key to reaching our goal.

“This grant is more than just welcome news — it is vital to building a cleaner, brighter future for our region,” said TriMet General Manager Sam Desue Jr. “I thank Rep. Earl Blumenauer for championing our plans for zero-emissions bus fleet operations to better our community, as well as Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Rep. Andrea Salinas, and Rep. Lori Chavez DeRemer for their support in securing this award.”

“This is important funding for the region and will improve TriMet’s efficiency,” Rep. Blumenauer said. “The Columbia Operations Facility may sound like a mundane project, but it is not. It’s an important element — part of the nuts and bolts that allow TriMet to function better. I deeply appreciate the Biden Administration’s support.”

“I am proud to have supported this $25 million federal investment in TriMet because it means families, small businesses and workers in the metro area can count on greener and cleaner buses,” said Sen. Wyden. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law I worked to pass, Oregonians in and around Portland as well as the entire state can have the big-league infrastructure required to have a big-league economy.”

“Reimagining transportation systems across our state — with sustainability front and center — will benefit Oregonians while creating good-paying, clean-energy jobs in communities that are in desperate need of 21st-century transportation routes,” Sen. Merkley added. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, TriMet is receiving a $25 million RAISE grant to house and maintain their zero-emissions bus fleet, which will support their mission to keep moving Oregonians forward on a safer, more accessible and cleaner transportation system for all.”

Improving service

The Columbia Operations Facility will one day house and maintain TriMet battery-electric buses and future fuel-cell electric buses powered by “green” hydrogen, produced with electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar or hydropower.

TriMet’s zero-emissions bus fleet is growing, with 24 new battery-electric buses set to go into service this year. Building a modern Columbia Operations Facility is essential so TriMet can expand our clean energy bus fleet and deploy more of these buses in our service district, especially to areas with poor air quality.

This facility is also critical to our ongoing efforts to increase service in areas that rely on transit. Our Forward Together service concept is redrawing the map of TriMet bus lines to increase ridership and improve service for people with low and limited incomes. The Columbia Operations Facility will help us make that service concept into reality.

Having a fourth facility for our buses will also allow us to make needed improvements at the TriMet Operations Headquarters at Southeast 17th Avenue and Center Street. With future plans to renovate the facility to support zero-emissions buses, we will need the space at the Columbia Operations Facility to house some of the 200-plus buses based out of the Center Street facility during that work.

Benefits beyond buses

While TriMet’s focus is on a better bus system, building the Columbia Operations Facility has many more positives as well.

The project will improve safety in the surrounding community. TriMet is partnering with the City of Portland to make improvements along Northeast Columbia Boulevard, including new traffic signals and pedestrian crossings. These improvements will make the corridor more walkable and transit-friendly, while also helping traffic flow better and more safely. We greatly appreciate the City’s partnership and support of this grant.

The Columbia Operations Facility will employ hundreds of union workers — including staff in our maintenance, cleaning and training divisions, as well as bus operators. It will house TriMet’s largest dedicated training facility, allowing us to expand our workforce development and training efforts to hire even more people. TriMet provides family-wage jobs and outstanding benefits for our more than 3,300 employees, as well as pathways for advancement. Learn more at