Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 24th, 2013 at 11:35 am
The Port of Portland, Metro, and the City of Portland have teamed up to apply for a $15 million grant through the Obama Administration's TIGER program. Nothing official has been released yet, but sources close to discussions about the grant application have told BikePortland the project includes the construction of two major portions of the North Portland Greenway.
The Marine Terminal Freight and Jobs Access Project project includes a freight access improvement on N Rivergate Blvd along with Segments 1 and 2 of the NP Greenway (the total cost is around $28 million once local matching funds are added in).
According to sources, Port of Portland is the lead applicant. The Port wants to build a grade-separated crossing of the Union Pacific railroad tracks on Rivergate Blvd, just west of where it joins with N. Lombard. Rivergate is the major freight access route and is a key road in the Port's Rivergate Industrial Center. Currently, trucks experience major backups when a train is crossing.
As for the NP Greenway component of the project, the grant would build Segments 1 and 2 — which account for about 3-4 miles of the 10-mile project. Segment 1 goes from Kelley Point to Columbia Blvd and Segment 2 goes from Columbia Blvd to the St. Johns Bridge. Below is a close-up map showing the route of the first two sections that would be built if this grant is approved.
Officials working on the application know that the combination of a freight improvement and an active transportation corridor project make this project perfect for TIGER. Or, as someone I spoke with about this morning said, this application should be "super, super competitive." For this round of TIGER funding, there are only two other projects from the region: a complete streets project for Canyon Road in Beaverton, and a passenger rail project being applied for by ODOT.
The TIGER program will dole out $474 million this year to projects that "achieve national objectives." The TIGER program favors projects that have a significant job creation and freight component as well as those that enhance livability and meet goals for "environmental sustainability" and safety. Portland has won TIGER funding in the past to help pay for the Sellwood Bridge and for the SW Moody project in the South Waterfront.