Dozens of federal, state and local transit officials from around the country joined Mayor Sam Adams in celebrating the completion of the Southwest Moody Avenue reconstruction project Thursday morning.
The $52 million project is a key part of the master plan to convert the underutilized land in South Waterfront into a thriving residential, employment center and academic center. It will help carry MAX light rail trains, the Portland Streetcar, automobiles, bicyclists and pedestrians into and out of the area.
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff spoke at the ceremony, calling the emerging neighborhood an example of what can be achieved through public-private partnerships. The federal government contributed $23 million to the project and is paying half the $1.5 billion cost of the Portland to Milwaukie light rail line that will serve it.
"We invest in America to improve the quality of life in America," said Rogoff.
Adams' echoed his comments, noting the nearby construction of the $295 million Oregon University System and OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building.
"This cutting edge research building would not be being built here without these cutting edge transportation options," Adams said.
The ceremony was also attended by representatives of transit agencies from 11 cities who are in town to study the Portland Streetcar system. The summit is co-hosted by the FTA. Tom Weyant, an aide to the mayor of Atlanta, said lessons learned in Portland would help the improve the coming construction of a new $90 million streetcar loop in his city.
By coincidence, the ceremony happened two days after the Lake Oswego City Council apparently killed the proposed streetcar extension from the southern end of South Waterfront. No one mentioned the decision, which was based in part on community opposition to the project.