A group of Oregon’s congressional Democratic lawmakers announced Wednesday more than $87 million in funding for the Division Bus Rapid Transit Project — a public transit project that is expected to provide faster trips between downtown Portland, southeast and east Portland and Gresham. 

Oregon U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Oregon U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said the federal funding for the project will improve mobility for the region. 

It will effectively connect downtown Portland to Gresham, near Mt. Hood Community College, over the Tilikum Crossing, mostly via southeast Division Street. 

Blumenauer said the area has been long underserved. “For too long, residents have faced unreliable, unsafe and unaffordable transportation options east of 82nd Avenue.”

Wyden said the project will also be an opportunity to increase jobs in the region. 

“The Division Street Transit Project builds a stronger region by creating construction jobs immediately as well as longer-term employment through exceptional mass transit.”

The 15-mile transit project is expected to lessen travel times by up to 20%. Buses will run every 15 minutes with even more frequency during rush hour. It’s projected to open in 2022. 

In total, the project will cost about $175 million. It will also take contributions from state, regional and local funding sources along with federal sources.