Metro: Yes to SW corridor light rail, no to tunnel

Committee heard recommendations for Southwest Corridor Plan on Wednesday

Adding light rail or bus rapid transit to already crowded portions of Southwest Barbur Boulevard are among the challenges facing Metro planners. Undated photo. (Jon House/Portland Tribune)
Adding light rail or bus rapid transit to already crowded portions of Southwest Barbur Boulevard in Portland, Ore., are among the challenges facing Metro planners. Undated photo. (Jon House/Portland Tribune)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Plans for expanded public transportation in Southwest Portland have been in the works for years, and Wednesday night those overseeing the project heard the latest recommendations.

The committee overseeing the Southwest Corridor Plan listened to proposed ideas from Metro, whose staff is pushing for a light rail line between Portland and Tualatin.

Another option would be an express bus system linking the cities together.

“I think I prefer a light rail,” Emily Baker said. “It avoids the traffic of all the other cars.”

Metro is pushing for the rail line, but is against constructing a tunnel to connect it with Portland Community College’s Sylvania campus, the Portland Tribune said.

“Whichever mode we select, whether we have a tunnel or not, we’re adding real opportunities and choices throughout Southwest [Portland] and the community beyond,” Bob Stacey with Metro said. “This is, by some people’s estimations, the last major corridor in a regional network of major transit corridors that is yet unfinished.”

Some city and Metro officials say the tunnel option isn’t cost effective, and would limit how far south a light rail could go. They want a line running along Barbur Boulevard.

The committee overseeing the Southwest Corridor Plan will make its decision May 9.

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