The MAX Yellow Line is a 5.8-mile (9.3 km) (not including segments downtown shared with other lines) route in the Metropolitan Area Express light rail system in Portland, Oregon. The route, which opened May 1, 2004, runs between Portland State University (PSU), in downtown Portland, and the Portland Expo Center. It is also known as the Interstate MAX because the majority of the line runs along Interstate Avenue in North Portland.
The Yellow Line was originally conceived as part of a north-south light rail project between Vancouver, Washington, and Milwaukie to be built using city funds, but that plan was rejected by voters. TriMet then learned that a majority of the residents of North Portland had voted in favor of the original plan, so they decided to build this new line without using city funds. To do this, they convinced the City of Portland to create an urban renewal district along the proposed line, which made them eligible for matching federal funds with which they could finance the construction of the MAX line. The project was finished four months ahead of schedule at a budget of $350 million, $25 million under budget. The presence of the line has also caused a great deal of redevelopment along its corridor. The line originally followed First Avenue and Morrison and Yamhill streets in downtown, terminating at Galleria/Southwest 10th Avenue station. However, on August 30, 2009, it was rerouted to use new tracks on the rebuilt Portland Transit Mall and now ends at PSU.
There are plans for extensions at both ends. The Portland-Milwaukie project would extend the MAX system from the current PSU terminus, on the Portland Transit Mall couplet, east and across the Willamette River via the planned Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge, then southward to Milwaukie via Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way and SE McLoughlin Blvd.. This extension is part of the proposed Orange Line and therefore is currently planned to be independent of the Yellow Line, but there is a possibility that it may instead be opened as a Yellow Line extension. The Columbia River Crossing project would extend from the Expo Center terminus north across the Columbia River to Clark College via Interstate 5, Washington/Broadway Street couplet, and East McLoughlin Blvd. Stops would serve Hayden Island and Vancouver, Washington.
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