Blumenauer Joins FTA Administrator to Unleash $75 Million for Portland Streetcar Expansion

October 22, 2009
Press Release

This is the first streetcar project to be funded through the Small Starts Program, which Congressman Blumenauer authored and established in 2003 to provide federal funding to help communities develop smaller scale and less expensive transit projects. This $800,000 million discretionary fund is for streetcar, commuter rail and bus rapid transit projects to receive federal capital funding.

While the Bush Administration failed to follow the Small Starts statute, delaying projects around the nation, the Obama administration has acted quickly to fund the Portland streetcar extension – which will create nearly 1,300 high-wage construction and manufacturing jobs in Oregon, attract 2.4 million square feet of new development into the project area, and reduce regional vehicle miles traveled by an additional 28 million miles. 

Following is a statement from Congressman Blumenauer:

“This final step in funding the Portland Streetcar expansion has great symbolism. Small Starts, a program I passed through Congress in 2003, is being put to work and funding the first-ever streetcar project right here in Portland. The $75 million released today is a down-payment on Portland’s future that will create 1,300 high-wage jobs, spur development, and jumpstart Oregon’s economy.
“Streetcars not only improve quality of life, giving people more transportation options, but they have real economic and environmental benefits. While the Small Starts program languished under President Bush, the Obama administration – under the leadership of Administrator Rogoff and Secretary LaHood – acted quickly to get this project moving. 

“With more than 80 streetcar projects underway across the nation, Small Starts provides a federal funding source for communities working to provide more commuting options and reduce their dependence on oil. Today’s announcement should make clear that the new administration is committed to rebuilding America, investing in our infrastructure, and recovering the nation’s economy.”



Media Contact: Erin Allweiss
202-225-4813 Office