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FTA head says MAX project can't be stopped

by: Nick Fochtman, TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane, OHSU President Joe Robertson, TriMet Project Manager Dan Blocker and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff at OHSU just prior to signing the federal funding agreement.

Light rail opponents in Clackamas County cannot derail the Portland-to-Milwaukie MAX project, says Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff.

Rogoff was in town Tuesday to sign the Full Funding Grant Agreement that guarantees the federal government's 50 percent commitment to the $1.5 billion project. Asked about the opposition to the project by the Portland Tribune, Rogoff said he was confident it will go forward.

"All of the partners have signed legally-binding agreements to fund their shares of the project. I would not be signing the agreement today if I thought there were any legal problems with the financing," Rogoff said.

Clackamas County opponents have qualified a measure for the September Special Election ballot requiring a public vote on the county's $25 million share. Two light rail opponents have also made it onto the November ballot for two commission seats.

Rogoff, however, believes many, if not most, Clackamas County residents want the line.

"Transit projects create jobs and provide needed transportation options, especially in these days of $4 a gallon gas," Rogoff said.