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Portland is a PR machine for light rail & streetcar

Here are Some Facts About Portland Oregon          

“It must always be remembered how cost-effectiveness works in the public sector: the cost IS the benefit.” - author unknown

Streetcar Facts

Portland says streetcars are for developers, not transportation

"A successful Streetcar System will ... Provide an organizing structure and catalyst for the City's future growth along streetcar corridors" and a "successful Streetcar Corridor will ... Have (re)development potential [and] community support to make the changes necessary [redevelopment & growth] for a successful streetcar corridor."

Here is the original text found in July 2008 at http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=46138&

Portland Warns That Density Causes Congestion

(then tries to hide the statement)

"Neighbors along a potential streetcar corridor need to ne aware of the potential for increased traffic congestion due to higher density of development."

(Portland Streetcar Workbook, page 34, April 2008 edition - removed from Version 2)

Portland Warns That Streetcars Cause Congestion

"... temporary traffic back-ups may occur where the streetcar stops at a curbside station, where leftturns occur on a two-lane street, where vehicles wait for pedestrian crossings to clear, and when vehicles parallel park."

Portland Streetcar Workbook (page 33)

As the City grows, land uses change, a streetcar corridor becomes more vibrant and economically vital, neighbors need to be aware of the potential for increased traffic congestion.

Portland Streetcar Workbook (page 34)

Hiding the Cost & Who Pays for It

"[Owen] Ronchelli  [program director of the nonprofit Lloyd District Transportation Management Agency] says he has suggested to the “district working groups” of citizens who are talking to various neighborhoods about the streetcar expansion idea to not yet talk about costs, or how the costs might be paid." The Portland Tribune, Jul 17, 2008

3.2.2 Streetcar Loop Project, Portland, OR

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (Tri-Met) proposes to construct

the Portland Streetcar Loop Project in Portland, Oregon, a 3.3-mile extension of the existing

Portland Streetcar line. The Portland Streetcar Loop Project will extend streetcar tracks, stations

and service from the Pearl District in NW Portland, across the existing Broadway Bridge, serving

the eastern half of the Portland Central City. With ten new streetcars, the project would serve 18

new and 16 existing streetcar stations and station pairs. Later, as a separate project, the Loop will

be completed via a new bridge at the south end, allowing continuous connections around the

entire loop.

FTA approved the Portland Streetcar Loop Project into Project Development on April 26, 2007.

FTA’s approval letter to Tri-Met indicated the need to improve the project’s cost-effectiveness

for the project to continue to advance. FTA and Tri-Met have been exploring technical data

revisions and possible changes to the project scope to address this issue. Any changes proposed

during Project Development may have an impact on the travel forecasts and cost estimates

reported below.

Contractor Performance Assessment Report September 2007

Federal Transit Administration Page 10

U.S. Department of Transportation

Proposed Streetcar Loop

Reporting Item

Information at Entry to Project Development

Project Length

3.3 Miles

Number of Stations

18 Stations

First Year of Construction


Opening Year Ridership (2009)

10,593 Average Weekday Boardings

3,463,911 Annual Boardings

Responsible Party for Ridership Forecasts:    


4012 SE 17th Ave.

Portland, OR 97202

Capital Cost Estimates

$134.454 million (2006 $)

$151.887 million (YOE $)

Responsible Party for Capital Cost


URS Corporation

111 SW Columbia, Suite 1400

Portland, OR 97201-5814

From: Contractor Performance Assessment Report, September 2007

Prepared by:

Federal Transit Administration

Office of Planning and Environment

U.S. Department of Transportation