Archive for December, 2006

Taking It Underground

There was this editorial last week in the Portland Tribune suggesting Portland needs underground light rail in our downtown core. While I agree underground rail would relieve some of the above ground congestion created by adding additional rail service, the notion of building underground transit is simply impractical. Whether it’s the cheaper “cut and cover” or the more expensive tunneling, the cost of building underground light rail would be crippling. Unless there are changes in how the Feds fund transportation project, I doubt we would be able to count on much funding from DC for such a massive project. But lets just say, for the sake of argument, Congress had a big pot of transportation dollars waiting to be tapped for mass transit. In my humble opinion, I think that money would be better spent bringing commuter rail downtown rather than additional light rail. I suppose it could even run underground through the downtown core if money was not a problem. To me, it would make more sense to provide fast service downtown for those living in places like Beaverton and Hillsboro than to add additional light rail capacity. The MAX is great, but it simply doesn’t move people into the city as fast as they would like. And limited commuter rail could actually be affordable to build if we used existing right aways and didn’t put any of it underground. However, underground transit, if we could afford it, would be super cool.

“Let’s dig deeper for a transit fix”
http://www.portlandtribune.com

“One Way to Go: a subway”
http://www.portlandtribune.com

1 comment December 11th, 2006


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