September 29, 2011

Oregon receives $13.6M for rail upgrades

Photo courtesy of trainman74 via Flickr.

Photo courtesy of trainman74 via Flickr.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) 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.

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 more 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, Ore. ODOT will contribute $5.8 million for this phase of the project.

Amtrak’s Cascades Service, which operates between Eugene, Ore. to Vancouver, B.C., 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.

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