ODOT to Hold Passenger Rail Forum

Passenger railWhat seems to many Oregonians an unending process, the passenger rail study is indeed rolling forward. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has announced five public open houses designed to provide members of various communities with an opportunity to hear more about the project, as well as provide feedback on the evaluation results. Why should you care? Because this will directly affect whether or not ODOT makes the move to branch interstate rail out to Corvallis and Albany. Come this Thursday, Nov. 7, you’ll have your chance to be heard.

ODOT hopes that these community interactions will help determine a general route for passenger rail systems as well as dig a bit deeper into proposed options for station locations, trip length, on-time performance, and train frequency. Earlier this year the project team put together a collection of four preliminary route alternatives based on heavy stakeholder and engineering input. Over the summer these alternatives were evaluated using current criteria as per the project goals and objectives. The open houses will hopefully narrow these options down even further and get us all one step closer to better interstate rail transit.

Project leadership will make a recommendation on Tuesday, Dec. 17 as to which route alternatives are worthy of more detailed study. If this recommendation does not include the Corvallis area, it could take many more years to get light rail out to our science hub.

The events themselves, held in Salem/Keizer, Eugene, Oregon City, Portland, and then Corvallis/Albany, also include a general Oregon public meeting online between Tuesday, Nov. 5 and Monday, Nov. 18 at www.oregonpassengerrail.org. Locally, the Thursday, Nov. 7 Corvallis/Albany meeting takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Linn Benton Community College’s Calapooia Center, Vineyard Mountain Room, 2nd Floor, at 6500 Pacific Boulevard SW in Albany. For more information visit the aforementioned website, call Jill Pearson at 503-986-3313, or email info@oregonpassengerrail.org.

by Johnny Beaver