The Federal Transit Administration has awarded Metro an $895,000 grant to create an equitable economic development and housing strategy for the Southwest Corridor, where the region's next MAX line could connect Portland State University to Bridgeport Village as soon as 2025.
The grant was announced today by FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers at the Rail~Volution Conference in San Francisco as part of the agency's Transit-Oriented Development Planning Pilot Program.
The Southwest Corridor is expected to add as many as 75,000 residents and 60,000 jobs by 2040. The grant will help Metro work with community partners to identify housing, workforce and economic development needs in the growing area and to develop strategies that improve access to economic and educational opportunity along with the proposed light rail project and related transportation investments – with special attention to low-income residents and communities of color.
"Better access in the Southwest Corridor means two things: Safer, more reliable options for getting around, and more opportunities for good jobs, education and high-quality housing residents can afford," said Metro Councilor Bob Stacey."This grant will help us work with local communities, TriMet, community-based organizations and other partners to advance opportunity in the Southwest Corridor."
"As the Southwest Corridor and our region continue growing, we need to think of transit investments, economic development and housing strategies as pieces of the same puzzle," said Metro Councilor Craig Dirksen. "This is an exciting opportunity to integrate all three. The lessons we learn will apply well throughout the region."
"Affordable housing is a core piece of any successful transit project and the foundation of a livable community. This is especially true for the Portland region's Southwest Corridor where housing prices have risen quickly," said Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon).
“While many cities in America are struggling to provide affordable housing, this grant will allow Portland to continue strengthening the links between where people live with where they work," Blumenauer added. "It's fitting that the FTA announced this TOD planning award today at the Rail~Volution conference, where the commitment to investing in housing affordability is stronger than ever."
"I am so thrilled that Metro was honored as a national transportation leader and chosen to receive this grant," said Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick. "This funding will connect people throughout our region to the places that matter to them the most and to regional economic opportunities, affordable housing and education."
The Southwest Corridor Plan is an effort to improve transit, roads, biking and walking – along with jobs, housing and land use strategies – in one of the Portland region's fastest-growing areas.
Growth in the corridor has taxed roads and transit, while people walking and bicycling face unsafe conditions moving within and between communities. Local and regional leaders are studying the best way to address these challenges, so that residents, commuters and visitors can get around safely, quickly and efficiently for decades to come.
The effort is a partnership of Metro, TriMet, the Oregon Department of Transportation, Washington County and the cities of Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood, King City and Durham.
The FTA grant announced today is one of 16, totaling $14.7 million, awarded nationwide to communities developing new or expanded public transit systems. The grants will help these areas plan improved access to transit, jobs, education and services, helping attract new business opportunities, jobs, and housing, with a focus on low-income communities. See a full list
Also in Oregon, the Lane Transit District received $450,000 from the program to create development strategies for a future bus rapid transit line in Eugene.