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Bonamici, Wyden, Merkley, Blumenauer Applaud $99.9 Million Award to TriMet to Expand Red Line to Hillsboro

September 24, 2021
Press Release
Track improvements and new trains included in project


Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici today announced that TriMet will receive $99.9 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to support the expansion of the MAX Red Line beyond Beaverton to Hillsboro.

 “Public transportation is essential to increasing accessibility and addressing the climate crisis,” Bonamici said. “MAX’s light rail service already plays a vital role in our community, and expanding the Red Line to Hillsboro will allow even more people to get to work, school, and home safely and efficiently. I’m pleased that TriMet will receive this funding, and I’ll continue to advocate for more resources to strengthen and expand our public transit system.”

Investments in mass transit reduce vehicle traffic and emissions with the added benefit of ensuring that Oregonians have the most direct and expedient way to get where they need to go,” Wyden said. “This award to Oregon’s largest transit agency will bring much needed expanded service in the metro area and reliability to the west side of Portland for commuters.”


“Expanding mass transit will not only give thousands of folks in the Portland metro area access to a more convenient public transportation option, but it will also reduce the harmful strain of carbon pollution on our environment,” said Merkley. “I was pleased to advocate for TriMet to win this funding in order to better serve communities that currently lack the public transit options needed to go about their everyday lives. This is a major award that will do a lot of good in the communities that need it most.”

“Once again, TriMet does it right,” Blumenauer said. “Better Red improves the region’s access to the airport and makes the entire light rail system operate more efficiently—making it easier for people to commute, recreate, and access essential services. This long-term investment will also create jobs and help our community cut emissions, making it a win for Oregonians, our economy, and our environment.”


Currently, the Red Line ends in Beaverton and trains are often full with commuters. Many commuters to Portland International Airport from Hillsboro also have to switch trains to reach the airport. The $99.9 million FTA grant will support TriMet’s “Better Red” project to extend the MAX Red Line to Hillsboro as well as improve sections of track near Portland International Airport and Gateway Transit Center.

The improvements will provide riders with better connections and more reliable trips throughout the MAX system. New light rail trains will be added to circulation—creating quicker commutes across the region with the goal of boosting transit ridership. Construction is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2021, with improved MAX Red Line service rolling out in 2024.

“The MAX Red Line expansion and improvement project, which we call A Better Red, is a prime example of embracing ways to address climate change, while putting people to work and making the transit system operate at peak efficiency,” said TriMet General Manager Sam Desue, Jr.  “TriMet thanks the Biden-Harris Administration, the Oregon Congressional delegation and the Federal Transit Administration for their vision and leadership.”

A web version of this release is here.