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My name's Chris, I live in Portland, and am very interested in infrastructure and sustainable development issues.
Portland is known for being a leader in sustainable development, infrastructure and mass transit. When are we going to see that kind of leadership in the rest of western Oregon? Why do we still not have a commuter rail system in place between our four major population centers on the I-5 corridor (Portland, Salem, Corvallis and Eugene)? There are many people who work in Salem but who live in Portland and drive down and back on I-5 every day. I-5, as we all know, is overly-congested and stressful to drive on during rush hours. A western Oregon commuter rail system would give people in Portland another option for commuting to work to Salem, and would give those in Portland an easier way to get to Eugene for things like the Shakespeare and Bach festivals, and the big football games there or in Corvallis. It would give students and residents in Eugene and Corvallis a car-free way to get between those cities or to Portland. All in all, it would give everyone in this part of the state a far less stressful and cheaper way to get around, and would help relieve congestion on I-5.
And needless to say, the creation and construction of such a system would create many, many jobs.
It's a given that this would be a massive undertaking, and would take a lot of money and several years - more like decades - to complete. I also understand that Amtrak in this area is somewhat crippled because most, if not all, of the railroad tracks in the state are owned by private companies. We'd have to figure out what to do about the current track system and Amtrak, and there would be many other details which would take much hard work and careful planning to flesh out.
However, despite the seeming difficulty, investing in infrastructure is a good way to create jobs now and set up the country for greater mobility and more sustainable development in the future. So, will someone in this or any political race come out in favor of taking even the first steps towards a comprehensive western Oregon commuter rail line?
And my question to Think Out Loud and OPB in general: The Green, Libertarian and other non-corporate parties have candidates for governor in the race. Will we hear from any of them in in-depth interviews on OPB?
posted 2 years, 7 months ago
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