City considers light-rail bridge options

Portland leaders want property owners citywide to kick in for the Portland-Milwaukie light-rail line construction.

In identifying funding sources for the $1.4 billion line, Portland will apply $1.78 million collected from citywide transportation system development charges. The money had already been earmarked for the project, according to the city’s finance office.

All told, the city must contribute $30 million to the project. Some $10 million worth of tax-increment financing money will be generated through the North Macadam Urban Renewal Area, through which the new line will travel. Another $15 million would come from transportation system development charges levied against property owners within the North Macadam and the Portland State University areas. Some $3.22 million would come via parking revenue.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams, on a Twitter post, characterized the plan as spending $30 million in order to help attract the rest of the funding from state and federal sources. The council discussed the matter at its Thursday meeting.

Adams said the project could create 12,300 jobs. Work on the project is scheduled to begin in summer 2011.

Light-rail supporters believe the 7.3-mile line could launch billions worth of development in the North Macadam area, Southeast Portland, Milwaukie and north Clackamas County.

The Portland City Council is considering the measure as it decides whether to authorize an intergovernmental grant agreement with TriMet. The agreement would spell out the city’s financial commitment to the project.

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