Mayor's Statement on SW Corridor
(July 23, 2019)
TriMet says we need a paradigm shift to make this project work. That’s probably true, given what we now know about the project costs and our ability to afford it.
But we also need consistency in this project. Consistency of what we’ve told the voters, what the voters have told us here in Tigard, and consistency of follow-through on the benefits and avoided-conflicts that this project has promised.
We have always known that getting to Bridgeport was the project’s goal. But it was always a goal, never a given. We’ve known that the project costs were going to stretch this region, and our federal partners, very thin. But the question of whether the project terminates at Bridgeport will be answered by pure math – the project resources minus the project costs. If the difference is positive, then it’s done and that’s great.
But our focus in Tigard has always been about our downtown – and that’s been a place of consistency. It’s in our Authorizing Ordinance, in our LPA resolution and was in the ballot title that our voters voted on – that the project was to serve our downtown. The alignment to Bridgeport barely meets that test, given that the downtown station is not in downtown, but adjacent to it in an industrial district. A great downtown station would not be outside our mixed use zoned land, on the far side of a state highway and next to noisy freight rail tracks. It would be close to our new mixed use housing development project, our planned public plaza, our Main Street and our existing transit center.
We determined that it would be unfair for Tigard to insist on an appropriately located downtown station if that location made it harder to reach Bridgeport. But if Bridgeport is no longer the terminus, what then? Don’t we all want the project to cause more affordable housing, walking and biking and higher transit ridership? Or do we want a Bridgeport terminus at all costs?
We know these projects are extremely expensive. For that reason, they should also be transformative. We had better not lose sight of that. The longest project may not be the best project. The best project is the one that transforms this corridor. And though I am a little biased, there’s nowhere along this route from downtown Portland to Tualatin that is poised to transform more so than downtown Tigard and the Tigard Triangle.
Tigard has been steadfast in its support of the Southwest Corridor high capacity transit project. I would like to be able to continue that support. The project needs to make some hard choices. Skinnying it up is a choice. So is shortening it. Which one will do the most good for the people and places in this corridor? That’s a question for every member of the CAC and this Steering Committee. My vote will be for a project that is consistent with past promises and votes, and is worth its hefty price tag – for a project that will be transformative. My belief is that we need to build a shorter project, not a skinnier one, that terminates in Tigard’s downtown. That’s a paradigm shift that I know my council and Tigard voters will be happy to support in November 2020 and beyond.
Jason B. Snider, Mayor
Tigard City Council Votes to Support Route for New Light Rail Line in Southwest Corridor
On Tuesday, November 13, 2018, the Tigard City Council approved (4-1) a Resolution supporting the Preferred Alternative (PA), the final route alignment, for a new light rail line that would serve southwest Portland, Tigard and Tualatin.
The Council also voted to approve an agreement with TriMet ensuring the light rail project be designed and constructed to meet the needs of the community and complement redevelopment plans for downtown and the Tigard Triangle
The agreement states that:
- Four stations will be located within Tigard (two in the Triangle, one Downtown and one serving 72nd Ave Corridor)
- Tigard will work jointly with TriMet in determining the final location of the downtown station, park and ride, and bus transit center
- There will be clear and safe bicycle and pedestrian access to the Downtown Tigard by reconstructing Hall Blvd. from Hunziker Street to the railroad crossing near Burnham
- A Shared Use Agreement will be negotiated so the downtown park and ride will be built to accommodate space for downtown employees, shoppers and residents
- Design and construction of any Operations and Maintenance Facility will maximize redevelopment opportunities adjacent to the downtown station
- Employment density will be increased in the Hunziker Industrial Core after the project is finished and redevelopment occurs
- Affordable housing will be preserved and increased in the corridor
- City staff’s participation in planning, permitting and design review will be scoped and budgeted in a future agreement
What is the Preferred Alternative (PA)?
The Preferred Alternative (PA) is the final route alignment for a new light rail line stretching 12 miles between Downtown Portland and Bridgeport Village in Tualatin. The line route features 13 potential stations and as many as seven Park & Rides with up to 3,500 parking spaces. In Tigard, the proposed station locations include 68th/Hwy 99W, Elmhurst St, Hall Blvd/Downtown, Bonita, and Upper Boones Ferry.
What happens now that the Tigard City Council approved the Preferred Alternative (PA)?
- Other alignment options studied in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be dropped from consideration;
- Environmental review will continue to address all issues raised to this point, and those that arise from shifts in the alignment;
- TriMet will begin advanced design work to avoid or minimize adverse impacts, and to develop detailed cost estimates,
- A funding plan will be developed that could include a regional (Washington, Multnomah and Clackamas counties) vote in November 2020 to pay for roughly half of the projects costs. The other half is expected to be paid through the Federal Transit Administration’s competitive New Starts Program.