As we count down the remaining month left before the opening of Central Link, I was reminded that in less than 3 months, Vancouver, B.C. will welcome it’s newest Metro system, Canada Line, set to open on September 7th. That same week, Portland will celebrate their 4th light-rail route, the Green Line to Clackamas Town Center. The Canada Line will connect the Downtown Vancouver Waterfront to Richmond and Vancouver International Airport, a ride which on a bus would take 48 to 54 minutes. A ride on Canada Line will take only 25 minutes. The new Canada Line was privately built and funded and will share the fare structure with TransLink for easy fare integration, whom operates SeaBus, local and express bus service, West Coast Express Commuter Rail, and SkyTrain. The Canada Line is estimated to cost $1.9 billion dollars and is currently $200 million under budget and 3 months early. On the heels of this new line opening, TransLink announced the $1.4 Billion CN Evergreen Line which will also run from Waterfront to Longheed Town Centre via the Millennium Line. The Evergreen Line is slated to start construction after the 2010 Olympics and open in 2014.
Starting September 12th, the 4th MAX line will start shuttling passengers from Portland State University and Clackamas Town Center. This $575.5 million dollar project will add another 8.3 miles to the expanding system. Tri-Met opted to order the popular Siemens S70 Avanto light-rail vehicles with a few slight modifications. The biggest difference is the vehicles will always be in pairs since the vehicles are single ended cabs (Meaning only 1 end of the car has a operator cab, the other is more seating). Like the Canada Line, the new Green Line will shave 20 to 40 minutes compared to the current buses.
The Green Line is also part of a multi-phase project that will allow expansion of the route to Milwaukie/Oak Grove. With the Green Line near completion, the dubbed Orange Line will continue onward from the PSU terminus to Park Ave Park and Ride in Oak Grove. The Orange Line will be the most expensive MAX line due in part that most of the line will be elevated and a new MAX/Streetcar bridge will be needed. Cost is expected between $1.2 to 1.5 billion dollars and add 7.3 miles to the system. The line is slated to open in 2015.