March 22, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Portland Bureau of Transportation
Transportation Secretary LaHood visits innovative project in S. Waterfront, celebrates with local officials
PORTLAND, Ore. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited a Portland Bureau of Transportation project funded in-part by federal stimulus dollars today in the South Waterfront district. The secretary was accompanied by the mayor, most of the federal delegation and Oregon’s transportation agencies.
"President Obama's vision for winning the future by out-building and out-innovating the rest of the world is coming to life right here in Portland," Secretary LaHood said. "The Department of Transportation's TIGER grant award will reduce congestion, provide new pedestrian and bicycle opportunities, and provide streetcar service that will encourage economic development and connect residents with the city's central business district. Even better, those streetcars will be manufactured right here in Portland by American workers."
The $23.2 million grant for Portland comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, designed to promote innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region or the nation.
"Thanks to federal stimulus dollars and local support for the SW Moody Avenue project, Portland gets to reconstruct a gateway street to one of the region's most exciting business, educational and residential centers at the South Waterfront," Portland Mayor Sam Adams said. "The SW Moody Avenue project opens up dozens of acres of vacant central city land to redevelopment, makes streetcar more efficient by adding a second track, and builds a foundation for the light rail extension to Milwaukie. With the commitment of the Obama Administration and Secretary LaHood, this construction project and the hundreds of jobs that came with it are reshaping Portland as we speak."
The SW Moody Project will reconstruct SW Moody Avenue between SW River Parkway and SW Gibbs Street in Portland’s South Waterfront district. The new Moody Avenue will support redevelopment of adjacent brownfields and facilitate the completion of MAX Light Rail and Portland Streetcar to the east side. The project is paid for with federal, state and local money.
Secretary LaHood added, "The Obama Administration believes communities come first in transportation planning. That's because we know that smart, targeted investments can generate an economic ripple effect that creates jobs, supports business development, and helps keep America on the track toward economic recovery. With rising fuel prices and energy costs, our investments in Portland's transit system will save money for local taxpayers and transit riders."
Secretary LaHood and Mayor Adams were joined by members of Portland’s federal delegation.
"A world-class public transportation system is a major reason that Portland is continually recognized as one of the most livable cities in the country," Senator Jeff Merkley said. "This federal TIGER grant will strengthen and expand that system, creating needed jobs and enhancing the entire South Waterfront neighborhood."
"I am honored to be here today with Secretary LaHood to celebrate the Recovery Act investment for SW Moody Ave,” Representative Earl Blumenauer added. “Beyond the immediate construction jobs, this investment will help the South Waterfront become a national model for transportation choices, economic development and livability. This is precisely the kind of federal investment that America and our community needs."
Representative David Wu remarked, “Portland has been a leader in using well-designed transportation systems to promote economic development. The SW Moody Avenue project will create a critical conduit between our city’s research institutions and economic core. I look forward to working with Portland’s other leaders to promote the growth of this important biotechnology cluster.”
"This project means Oregon jobs now and more jobs in years to come. This funding will employ nearly 400 Oregon construction workers, filling an immediate need in a struggling industry,” Representative Kurt Schrader said. “This is a key component of the long-term plan to develop the South Waterfront, encouraging more business growth and economic opportunities for SW Portland and the surrounding region."
The Secretary and elected officials were joined by two representatives of major City of Portland partners – the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Health & Science University.
"ODOT’s financial commitment in South Waterfront includes several multimodal investments. These investments contribute to making this area function better, increase safety and support our local economy,” Oregon Transportation Commission Chair Gail Achterman said.
“For OHSU, the South Waterfront neighborhood has been all about building bridges to the community, both figurative and literal, beginning with the aerial tram and our Center for Health & Healing. The Moody Avenue improvements will help facilitate light rail and streetcar connections to the East side and serve as a transportation foundation for future OHSU growth at the Schnitzer Campus,” Oregon Health & Science University President Dr. Joe Robertson said.
Secretary LaHood also announced today that the U.S. Department of Transportation has officially committed $10.2 million in two additional federal grants for Portland's transit system. First, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is providing $6 million for the purchase of 17 fuel-efficient buses. The FTA is also providing a second $4.2 million grant to Portland that will enable TriMet to purchase on-board energy storage units for approximately 20 light-rail vehicles. In addition to improving energy efficiency and reducing costs, these units will allow Portland's light-rail system to grow without adding additional substations.
More information about the project is available at swmoodyproject.com.