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Regional Light-Rail Connection to Portland Hinges on Suburban Vote

The city of Tigard could make or break the proposed Southwest Corridor light rail project with a vote this November.
July 3, 2016, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Elliot Njus reports: "Tigard voters will have a chance this fall to weigh in on a proposed light-rail line to the city, a decision that could topple the project after nearly a decade of planning."

The City Council decided to send a measure "asking whether the city should support the Southwest Corridor light-rail project" to the November ballot. The full proposal "would connect downtown Portland to Bridgeport Village," but it depends on the city of Tigard's support. The estimated cost for the project, expected to begin construction in 2025, is somewhere between $2.4 billion and $2.8 billion.

The city of Tigard has somewhat of a checkered past with rail transit, according to Njus. The city's charter formally opposes high-capacity transit, and a 2014 measure approved by voters "requires a vote on any new tax or fee for light rail." Despite those public displays of disaffection, a recent survey of city residents found 73 percent of residents in favor of a high-capacity transit connection with Portland.

Njus also reports of a potential regional ballot measure, targeted for 2018, asking voters to approve "a bond measure to pay for a suite of transportation projects, including Southwest Corridor light rail." Tigard would also have a say on that matter.

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Published on Thursday, June 30, 2016 in The Oregonian
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