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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Oregon agency starts stimulus-funded project, changes fare-free area

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) and city of Portland are using $1.6 million in federal stimulus dollars to repair bricks at 20 intersections in the agency’s Morrison and Yamhill light-rail corridors.

The corridors have experienced “significant wear and tear” and have not had major repairs since TriMet installed tracks 25 years ago, agency officials said in a prepared statement. Contractor Stacy and Witbeck/Kiewet Pacific Inc. began work on Monday and expects to complete the project in October.

TriMet has obtained $53.3 million in stimulus funds to repair various infrastructure. Since May, the agency has started or completed eight of 31 planned projects.

Meanwhile, TriMet’s board recently approved a plan to change Fareless Square to rail only. The change takes effect on Jan. 3, 2010.

A fare-free area, Fareless Square encompasses most of downtown Portland and includes several MAX rail stations and bus stops. TriMet implemented Fareless Square 34 years as a bus-only service.

Now, nearly all trips within Fareless Square can be accommodated on rail, TriMet officials said in a statement. The change would eliminate fare conflicts and make transit services in downtown less confusing because not all buses travel the length of the mall, according to the agency.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/18/2009