New rules help PDX streetcar

The Obama administration announces new rules for funding mass transit projects, and the Portland Streetcar will likely benefit.

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The Obama administration’s new rules for funding mass transit projects will take into account livability issues, in addition to cost and traffic congestion.

The new rules are a change from those set by the Bush administration and will likely help put plans for the Portland Streetcar extension in motion.

“Our new policy for selecting major transit projects will work to promote livability rather than hinder it,” [U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood] said. “We want to base our decisions on how much transit helps the environment, how much it improves development opportunities and how it makes our communities better places to live.”

Portland has a huge stake in the federal funding of streetcars and light rail. A Portland Streetcar extension to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry was held up for years because of the Bush administration rules. The Portland City Council last fall adopted a plan for 58 miles of streetcar lines criss-crossing the city. Metro planners are actively studying potential light rail routes to Tigard via Oregon 99W and to Gresham via Southeast Powell Boulevard.

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