Trains For America

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U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $13.6 Million for Oregon Intercity Passenger Rail Projects

Federal Railroad Administration

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U.S.Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, D.C.



U.S.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today awarded a $13.6 million grant to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to modernize the Portland Union Station, upgrade passenger rail service along Amtrak’s Cascades route and continue further development of an integrated, statewide rail network

“These investments will improve passenger and freight rail service in Oregon,” said Secretary LaHood. “By providing more efficient and reliable rail service, we are building a stronger economic future.”

A highlight of the rail dollars provided includes:

• $4 million to fund preliminary engineering and environmental work for track replacement and expansion, facility upgrades to comply with the Americans with Disability Act, as well as energy conservation measures at Portland Union Station. These improvements will reduce train station congestion and accommodate forecasted increases in passenger service.  ODOT will contribute $1 million to this project.

• $1.3 million to support final design and construction of additional work on the station’s roof and other structural upgrades, coupled with a $5.9 million grant previously awarded by FRA for roof replacement.  In addition to additional roof replacement and seismic upgrades, work will also include replacing gutters, downspouts, repairing skylights and windows, and insulation in the attic.

• $4.2 million for a draft and final environmental work and service planning to identify improvements for the Cascades route from Eugene to Portland, OR.  ODOT will contribute $5.8 million for this phase of the project.

Amtrak’s Cascades Service, which operates between Eugene, OR to Vancouver, BC, is one of the railroad’s fastest growing routes.  Ridership increased 10 percent in 2010 to a record-breaking 838,251 passengers, and is trending to break that record in 2011.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

6 Responses

  1. Steve A says:

    Pork a la mode.

  2. Steve A says:

    I-5 – 130,000 daily vs Amtrak at 1850 daily per Wikipedia. The USG is gonna have a tough case for subsidy at that ratio.

  3. Eugene says:

    Great news and glad to hear this!

  4. Richard says:

    Steve, your logic is circular: “The government has spent lots of money to build infrastructure for travel mode X (I-5), and ignored mode Y (trains). Now lot’s of people use X compared to the number that use Y. Therefore, we should not spend money to improve Y so more people will use it.”

    Why shouldn’t we invest in a variety of ways to get between points A and B so that people have reasonable choices? And if one of those choices lets people who prefer it use a safer, more fuel-efficient travel mode, even better.

  5. Steve A says:

    Richard, it would be a mistake to presume I support Federal funding for local road projects, either. You are entirely correct that the fact that the Federal largess being far greater per passenger than per driver does not make one right and the other wrong. Both are wrong.

  6. gblatham says:

    Steve A:

    Let’s just take your line of reasoning one step beyond and say that ALL government participation in EVERY mode of transportation should immediately end.

    Then we can see who’ll be the “last man standing” (as it were).

    My money will be on trains.

    In the meantime (and since none of us really expect our blessed government to bug off), I fully support its various half-hearted attempts to place rail-based passenger services upon a level playing field.

    Garl B. Latham
    Dallas, Texas

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