Merkley, Wyden Announce Nearly $100 Million in Federal Funding to Expand TriMet’s Light Rail

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced nearly $100 million in federal funding to finance a 7.8-mile extension of TriMet’s MAX Red Line from Beaverton Transit Center to downtown Hillsboro. The funding will also increase the reliability of the light rail system between Portland International Airport and Beaverton Transit Center.

“Public transportation is a vital service that countless Oregonians in the metro area rely on to commute to work, pick up their prescriptions and groceries, and more,” said Merkley. “Strengthening our transit infrastructure will not only help our communities weather this pandemic, but will contribute to a strong foundation for the future and help us rebuild our economy with sustainable transportation. I’m pleased that this funding is making its way to TriMet and will continue to fight for transit resources across our state.”

“Mass transit is essential for residents in the metropolitan Portland area both to get through COVID19 now and to build upon on the other side of this public health and economic crisis,” Wyden said. “Oregonians depend on MAX each day to get to their jobs, buy goods, travel conveniently to the airport and much more. I am gratified these needed resources are en route to TriMet and I will keep battling for these federal resources to support sustainable transit in the metro region and everywhere else in Oregon.”

TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey thanked the Oregon congressional delegation for their support of transit: “The expansion of the Airport Red Line will create a far more efficient over all MAX system as well as expand one-seat service deep into Washington County. It comes at a time when we need to kick start the economy.  This federal and local investment will create around 1,200 construction jobs when we need them the most.”  

The funding, which totals $99.99 million, is being distributed by the Federal Transit Administration.

The MAX expansion funding comes shortly after the senators announced that TriMet received $185 million in funding to support its public transportation operations and projects, including coronavirus response efforts.