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TriMet logs 30 years of MAX light-rail service


The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) on Monday marked the 30th anniversary of its MAX light-rail system.

On Sept. 5, 1986, the agency debuted its 15-mile Blue Line route between Gresham and Portland, Ore. The system became known as the Metropolitan Area Express, or MAX. During the line's first year, MAX Blue Line trains carried 9.5 million riders.

Today, the MAX system comprises five lines that cover 60 miles in the Portland area. The system now logs more than 40 million trips a year.

In 1975, Oregon officials reallocated federal highway funding toward transit options. The money originally was dedicated to building the Mount Hood Freeway and another abandoned freeway, Interstate 505.

Since the decision to build the light-rail system in 1978, there has been more than $13.2 billion in development along MAX lines, according to TriMet.

The system also has become "a national model for community support, land-use/transportation planning, public art and environmentally friendly construction practices," TriMet officials said on the agency's website.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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