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Central Oregon Rail, Transit, Air
Projects get $10 Million

by Staff
KTVZ.COM, June 20, 2008

Among $100 million in grants by state's 'Connect Oregon II'

Four Central Oregon transit, air and rail transportation projects will share $10 million in state grants approved Friday by the Oregon Transportation Commission in the second round of "Connect Oregon" funding.

They include $2.8 million for a transit center in Bend, $3.5 million to expand the City of Prineville Railway freight depot, $2.1 million for a new heavy aircraft and major engine maintenance facility at the Madras Airport, and $1.5 million for the Redmond Airport, to build a new aircraft ramp and development area for air cargo companies.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski plans to visit Prineville and Madras next Wednesday to formally present those grants to the communities.

Here's the full ODOT release:

The Oregon Transportation Commission has approved the recommended list of multi-modal projects for ConnectOregon II funding. Thirty projects involving rail, air, marine and public transit transportation from around the state will receive funding through the $100 million lottery-bond-backed program. The complete ranked listing is available at

"A strong transportation system is key to a strong economy, and that means investing in our entire transportation network," Governor Ted Kulongoski said. "The ConnectOregon program has delivered economic opportunity for communities across Oregon through vital investments in railroad, marine ports, airports, and transit."

Over the past six months, committees made up of representatives from air, rail, freight, marine and public transit advisory committees, regional transportation advisory committees, industry groups, transportation stakeholders, ODOT staff and members of the public reviewed applications. In April, a 25-member Final Review Committee ranked the original list of 70 projects requesting a total of $178.5 million. The first 30 projects, approved for funding, total $99,584,690 and include 10 aviation, two marine, 13 rail and five transit projects.

"I am pleased that through ConnectOregon II we are able to continue making these important investments to strengthen our ability to move people, commerce and goods throughout our state," Kulongoski said. He emphasized the value of public and private entities working together to make thoughtful decisions about investments in Oregon's transportation system.

ConnectOregon II, approved by the 2007 Legislature and coordinated by the Oregon Department of Transportation, provides funding through lottery-backed bonds and leverages partnerships to fund transportation projects other than highways. In conjunction with cities, counties, planning organizations and other jurisdictions, businesses and stakeholders, the ConnectOregon program improves connections, enhances transportation options and supports the economy statewide. To learn more, visit

Brief descriptions of approved projects (in order of priority)

PORTLAND & WESTERN RAILROAD, APP# R10026. Portland and Western Railroad (P&W) will upgrade 23 miles of deteriorated 100-year-old rail along the Columbia River to reduce congestion and improve safety. The rail line will better connect several industries and will reduce emergency egress at highway-rail crossings.

PORT OF PORTLAND, APP# A10040. This project will extend the north runway of Portland International Airport from its current length of 8,000 feet to 9,827 to provide consistent airfield operational capability, in particular when the 11,000 foot long south runway must be closed for rehabilitation in 2011.

PORT OF ASTORIA, APP# M20042. The Port of Astoria includes two piers that host cruise ships, commercial vessels and a dredging barge. This project will expand the North Face of Pier 2 to support the Port's history of serving multiple use vessels and continue building the economic base of the Lower Columbia River.

PORT OF PORTLAND, APP# R10066. This project will expand South Rivergate Yard in the Northwest's busy shipping terminal to include one additional lead track and five additional storage tracks and will install a critical crossover in Bonneville Yard. These improvements will enable the yard to provide competitive rail access and help reduce congestion.

BURLINGTON NORTHERN SANTA FE RAILWAY, APP# R10047. BNSF's East St. Johns siding extension project will create a controlled siding with 7,700 feet of clear length by constructing 2,950 feet of new siding (a short railroad track used for unloading or bypassing a main track) and rehabilitating the existing 4,900-foot siding. This will provide more opportunities for trains to meet and pass in the heavily congested "Portland Rail Triangle."

PORTLAND & WESTERN RAILROAD, APP# R20025. P&W will rehabilitate the Millersburg Yard and add or extend several tracks within the facility. This will allow trains direct access to the Millersburg yard, enhancing connectivity, reducing transportation costs, eliminating a corridor bottleneck and improving safety.

CITY OF BEND, APP# T40010. This project will create a regional intermodal center, connecting six bus companies, five shuttles, five vanpools, one mass transit system, and several other alternative transportation options. The new center will reduce transportation costs, improve access to jobs, and provide a critical link to the existing transportation system.

GRESHAM REDEVELOPMENT COMMISSION AND TRIMET, APP# T10076. The 188th Street Light Rail station, a key part of Gresham's urban renewal efforts, will be reconstructed to improve safety, allow for increasing usage and contribute to the redevelopment of the Rockwood area. It will include expanded platforms, wider sidewalks, bike lanes and new lighting.

CITY OF SALEM - MCNARY FIELD, APP# A20021. Salem's airport activity has picked up with the addition of daily passenger service. This project will expand the terminal waiting area to allow improved baggage processing, additional restrooms, expanded passenger drop-off/pick-up areas and additional parking.

GRANT COUNTY - GRANT COUNTY REGIONAL AIRPORT, APP# A50045. This project will replace the aging airport terminal facility (originally a private airfield) with one designed to meet the needs of pilots, visitors and airport operations, as well as the needs of the U.S. Forest Service as it improves its Fire Base facility.

UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD, APP# R10072. This project will provide additional track capacity to support the busy Port of Portland and its customers, reducing congestion, improving connectivity and supporting a highly efficient directional flow of rail traffic moving through Portland.

UNION COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORP. AND PENDLETON GRAIN GROWERS, APP# R50007. Improving the ability to move agricultural goods is the main goal of this project. It will allow the purchase of land, the construction of a one-quarter mile rail spur extension and the addition of a 755,000 bushel grain storage facility, improving safety on I-84 and supporting the local and regional economies.

CITY OF PRINEVILLE, APP# R40005. The Prineville Freight Depot serves as a multi-modal distribution center to bring rail traffic to the city's short line railway, offering freight options for central and eastern Oregon. This project will expand the depot's capabilities by building additional warehouse space and a bulk trans-load facility.

LANE TRANSIT DISTRICT AND CITY OF VENETA, APP# T20024. A new Veneta Transit Center will stimulate economic activity, reduce congestion on busy Oregon 126 and offer residents more options for commuting. It includes an enhanced Park and Ride facility in the city's growing downtown area.

MODOC NORTHERN RAILROAD CO. AND LAKE COUNTY, APP# R40043.This project will provide new rail infrastructure in four key areas to accommodate growing shipping needs while allowing increased speed and handling efficiency. It will also improve economic opportunities and reduce transportation costs in the area.

PORT OF MORROW AND NORTHWEST CONTAINER SERVICES, INC., APP# R50044. This project will create a multi-modal rail logistics facility that will provide alternative shipping options, support the local economy and increase mainline capacity by building a new siding (short track for unloading or bypassing), purchasing lift equipment, adding control switches and more.

CITY OF MADRAS, APP# A40075. A new "heavy aircraft and major engine maintenance facility" at the Madras Airport will support businesses in this rapidly growing area. A new 30,000 square foot hangar and associated infrastructure will bring on-demand air carrier service to Madras and provide transportation options for community businesses.

ALBANY & EASTERN RAILROAD CO., APP# R20051. Bridges on the critical "Mill City Branch" will be rehabilitated in this project, supporting several key industries and improving safety along the line. The new bridges will better accommodate today's heavy rail loads and enhance the area's economic appeal to businesses.

COOS COUNTY AIRPORT DISTRICT, APP# A30001. This project will support the effort to construct and equip an air traffic control tower at the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in North Bend. An air traffic control tower is vital to meet the needs of the area, which is experiencing growth in tourism, air freight and business needs.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, APP# T10038. Columbia County's public transit facilities are operating at maximum due to increasing numbers of commuters, elderly riders and new residents. This project will build a multi-modal public transit facility to function as a hub for services, helping provide safe, reliable and convenient access to transportation options, reduce congestion and support community livability.

BURLINGTON NORTHERN SANTA FE RAILWAY, APP# R10048. This project will provide powering switches between the BNSF and Portland & Western Railroad, enabling trains to move more quickly throughout the busy rail system. This improvement will support more than 10,000 carloads annually and reduce wait times for Amtrak and other trains, while increasing the rail's ability to handle traffic from the Port of Portland.

CITY OF NEWPORT AND PORT OF ASTORIA, APP# A20030. Scheduled passenger air service, funded through this project, will provide important connections from two major coastal communities to the Portland International Airport. It will reduce travel time and costs for people needing to get to and from Oregon's northern and central coast.

SALEM-KEIZER TRANSIT, APP# T20035. This project will create the Keizer Transit Center, a new facility designed to improve connections, provide options and reduce congestion, with parking spaces, bike facilities, room for eight buses, a pedestrian plaza and more.

PORT OF ST. HELENS, APP# R10016. These rail improvements will allow locomotives to turn around at this vital port for the return trip to Portland and beyond. It will also enhance intermodal transportation connections, providing attractive incentives for new businesses to support the local economy.

CITY OF SALEM - MCNARY FIELD, APP# A20022. This project will extend the primary runway/safety area for aircraft by up to 1000 feet. As growth continues at the facility, runway extensions give a greater margin of aircraft safety and growth capacity and make the airport a more viable option for travelers and businesses.

PORT OF PORTLAND, APP# M10029. A new multi-user pipeline system at the busy Port of Portland will enhance the area's appeal to the growing renewable energy industry in Oregon. The project will include a pipeline corridor and rack system in the Pier 1 area of Terminal 4 that can serve several tenants and provide options for commodities transportation.

REDMOND AIRPORT - CITY OF REDMOND, APP# A40031. Creating better access for air cargo is this project's goal. It will include a new aircraft ramp and development area solely for cargo companies, enhancing security and safety and offering potential new companies incentives for using the airport's cargo services.

CITY OF VALE, APP# A50020. Vale's Miller Memorial Airport will create a more viable airstrip in this project, increasing the airport's usefulness as a community resource and enhancing its appeal to businesses. The project involves paving the longest runway, which is currently gravel.

ROGUE VALLEY INTERNATIONAL - MEDFORD AIRPORT AND SKY AIR CARGO, LLC, APP# A30061. This project will improve Rogue Valley International's small parcel freight handling capabilities by constructing an air cargo handling building, rehabilitating the existing air cargo apron areas, adding parking and upgrading utilities. These enhancements support continued growth at the facility and in the local economy.

MT. HOOD RAILROAD, APP# R10004. Repairing 22 miles of this rail line will bring back a long-established freight line as well as a tourism draw that has been missing since 2006. By relocating the river channel and rebuilding sections of the line, businesses that have since closed may re-open and freight haulers will have restored connections.

Central Oregon Rail, Transit, Air Projects get $10 Million
KTVZ.COM, June 20, 2008

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