The Metro Council will vote on Nov. 15 whether to adopt the recommended route of the proposed Southwest Corridor light rail project, the 12-mile train that would connect downtown Portland to Tigard and Bridgeport Village in Tualatin, building on an existing network of 60 miles of light rail.
The council’s approval would also add the light rail route to the Regional Transportation Plan.
The council will also consider adopting an order that would fast-track land use permits for the light rail project. The order would allow Metro to grant TriMet a single permit in lieu of multiple ones from each city and county along the proposed route.
The project would still need permits from federal, state and local governments for the light rail line’s design and construction.
Metro will take into account endorsements from affected cities and agencies. The city councils of Tualatin and Beaverton already endorsed the steering committee recommendation on Sept. 10 and Oct. 16, respectively, as did the Washington County Board on Sept. 25 and TriMet Board on Sept. 26. The Portland City Council is expected to consider the recommendation on Nov. 1 and Tigard on Nov. 13.
Even with a final route, decisions remain on connections to Marquam Hill (Oregon Health & Science University and VA hospitals) and Portland Community College’s Sylvania campus, the location of MAX stations and Park & Ride facilities, and design details. Project planners need to make a final decision on the route at "the crossroads” intersection of Barbur, Capitol Highway and I-5.
TriMet will convene new community advisory and steering committees in early 2019 to help with these decisions and guide the advanced design and engineering process. Metro and TriMet will also prepare the final environmental impact study, which includes commitments to avoid or minimize impacts on properties and the natural environment where feasible.
Project partners will continue to meet with community groups, host design workshops, gather feedback and work one-on-one with affected property owners, businesses and residents.
In November 2020, people in the region may vote on a regional transportation funding measure that could pay for about half of the project. If that is approved, funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program could be approved as soon as 2022, and the train could open by 2027.
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