Oregon gets $1.5M to improve rail service
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
Oregon lands federal money for high-speed rail.
Oregon got a small piece of the the $2 billion for high-speed rail projects announced Monday by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
While the bulk of the money went toward projects to speed up train travel in the Northeast and Midwest, Oregon landed $1.5 million to analyze overnight parking tracks for passenger trains in Eugene, the southern end of the Pacific Northwest Corridor, with an eye toward adding new capacity for increased passenger and freight rail service.
The news comes on the heels of an announcement over the weekend that Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and Portland developer John Russell will lead what the Eugene Register-Guard calls a "high-level advisory group charged with writing a plan for Oregon’s 105-mile segment of the 466-mile Amtrak Cascades line."
Piercy and Russell will head up the Oregon Rapid Passenger Rail Corridor committee, which will be appointed by Gov. John Kitzhaber.
The group will be charged with determining the best options for implementing high-speed rail travel in Oregon. Options potentially on the table include keeping current tracks, building additional tracks along the same rail lines, or even constructing a new track that would follow Interstate 5.
The new advisory group is expected to hold its first meeting in late June and early July.
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