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Portland's TriMet Opens MAX Orange Line

Portland’s Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) celebrated the opening of its newest light rail service, the MAX Orange Line, Sept. 12 and reported approximately 40,000 rides on the line that day.

The line, a 7.3-mile extension that features 10 new stations, begins at Portland State University and heads south to Milwaukie with two new stations on the west side of the Willamette River and eight on the east side. It crosses the river via Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People—the first bridge in the U.S. to carry public transit, bicycles and pedestrians but not cars. ­Eighteen new light rail vehicles from Siemens Transportation Systems operate on the line.

FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan, who attended the opening, said, “The MAX Orange Line will make a huge difference in the quality of life for thousands of people in the greater Portland area, offering a one-of-a-kind, world-class travel option between north Clackamas County and downtown Portland. This project demonstrates the power of public transportation to help transform a major American city and bring 21st-century transportation options to a growing population and future generations.”

The celebration began with a procession of members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde accompanying the first Orange Line train across Tilikum Crossing, followed by festivities at stations along the line. All TriMet bus and light rail service, along with the Portland Streetcar and Portland Aerial Tram, operated free for the day.

TriMet expects the new light rail line to provide 22,800 average weekday trips by 2030.

The agency invited area residents to explore the MAX Orange Line by downloading the free TriMet Tickets app and participating in the “O Marks the Spot” ­scavenger hunt game. Players used the app to find local businesses and stations along the line, checking in at each location to become eligible for prizes.

FTA contributed $745.2 million, or half the total $1.49 billion cost, to the expansion. State and local sources covered the remaining cost.

TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane welcomes FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan at the opening celebration for the MAX Orange Line.
Photo courtesy of TriMet

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