The Southwest Corridor Light Rail project is still in the design phase, and the Steering Committee most recently met on Nov. 4. In October, the project was facing a $400 million budget deficit, but it has since been trimmed to around $100 million. And while the project considered cutting costs by reducing auto lanes on Barbur Boulevard, the idea has reportedly had little community support. Plus, the traffic analysis concluded that the proposed modifications would lead to car congestion. Instead, there is a proposal to rebuild Barbur Boulevard with two auto lanes in each direction south of Naito Parkway, along with protected bike lanes and sidewalks.
With this in mind, the project is focused on reducing costs in other ways. For example, there is a potential $54 million savings with right of way adjustments, which lessen the property impacts along the rail line. Others include a savings of $32 million with reduced stormwater infrastructure. Plus, by reducing six crossovers on the route, the project can save $36 million. The crossovers allow trains to switch tracks, in case there is an obstruction in their path like a car or a train that needs maintenance. Plus, an additional $100 million gap needs to be addressed, which is going to be part of ongoing discussions.
At this time, the recommendation is to build the light rail as originally planned with a final stop in Bridgeport Village. These new developments are more or less in line with what Tualatin Mayor Frank Bubenik, Tualatin City Councilor Robert Kellogg, and Tigard Mayor Jason Snider have previously expressed would be in the best interest of their cities.
The Steering Committee is expected to finalize their project recommendation at their next meeting, which was rescheduled from mid-November to Dec. 16. The committee will be meeting at Tigard City Hall from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and the meeting is open to the public.
In addition, the light rail design is expected to be illustrated and presented for feedback in 2020. These will include images of the stations, Park & Ride lots, and streetscapes.