PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — As the day a steering committee decides the final route for the Southwest Corridor Light Rail project alignment approaches, the Tigard City Council wants to make sure its objections are clear. Those include objections to reducing the number of travel lanes along Barbur Boulevard to save money and that if a decision is made that there isn’t enough funding to bring the rail line all the way Bridgeport Village, the end of the line should be located somewhere west of Hall Boulevard.
The council agreed to those conclusions during a work session Tuesday night.
At issue is an upcoming meeting of the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project Steering Committee, a group of local mayors and other representatives, who will make a recommendation to TriMet on the best alignment for the rail line to travel from Oregon Health and Science University’s campus to Bridgeport Village in Tualatin or to a point in downtown Tigard.
Earlier this year, the committee approved a locally preferred alternative alignment to get the rail through Tigard that would travel from Bonita Road to Bridgeport Village. That locally preferred alternative alignment is $400 million over budget officials say.
Over the last several months, Tigard Mayor Jason Snider has made it clear to the steering committee that if not enough funding was found for the project, he’d be in favor of ending the line in Tigard instead of extending it the additional 3 ½ miles to Tualatin. That suggestion has not played well with Tualatin officials who want to ensure the line makes it all the way to a station in Tualatin.
In addition, Snider has said he’s not be in favor of a TriMet proposal of narrowing Barbur Boulevard to only two lanes to save money for the project.
During Tuesday night’s meeting, Kenny Asher, Tigard’s community development director, told the council that in order to move forward with a locally preferred alternative route, TriMet has prepared four scenarios. Two of those would require receiving an additional $200 million from the state and two assume that an estimated $200 million can be reduced from the project. The latter two proposals would include narrowing Barbur Boulevard to two lanes. Only one of those scenarios, which secures additional money and scales back the scope of the project, makes it to Bridgeport Village.
Meanwhile, Snider told the council he’s heard “rumblings” by some that there is such a desire to make it to Bridgeport Village that plans are to find the additional money, not reduce lanes to Barbur Boulevard and plans to take the project all the way to Tualatin. He said his understanding is that the corridor project needs to go to Bridgeport Village or it’s “not going to happen.”
He later declined to comment further saying at the moment it’s just a rumor.
A final public hearing on the light rail alignment is planned for 6 p.m. Nov. 4 at Tigard Public Library. The Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project Steering Committee’s final alignment meeting is set for Nov. 18 at 9 a.m. at Tigard City Hall.
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