Milwaukie light rail project at half-way mark

TriMet representatives and Portland city officials attend a news conference announcing that the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project is now 50 percent complete. Thursday, July 25, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)
TriMet representatives and Portland city officials attend a news conference announcing that the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project is now 50 percent complete. Thursday, July 25, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – TriMet announced Thursday that the highly contentious Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project is now 50 percent complete.

At a news conference Thursday attended by local officials, the agency announced that the 7.3-mile line is set to open on Sept. 13, 2015.

TriMet reported that its share of the $1.5 billion price tag is less than 5 percent, capped at $60 million. Fifty percent of the funding comes from the Federal Transit Authority, with the remainder of the balance broken down between state, local and regional partners.

New Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick today emphasized looking beyond the numbers.

“When it comes to saving money, people talk about the costs of these transit projects, but we never talk about how much we all spend on our cars,” Novick said. “Last year in Portland alone, people and businesses spent $600 million on gas and $244 million on car repairs. When you’re riding light rail, you’re not spending money on gas and car repairs.”

TriMet said construction of the rail line has created more than 6,800 jobs.

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