DON'T LEAVE RURAL AREAS IN TRANSPORTATION DUST

September 13, 2001 11:00 pm

Portland can be proud of its Airport MAX Red Line light-rail train that began running this week between downtown and the Portland International Airport terminal.

The train represents another significant link in Portlands light-rail system that runs from Gresham in the east to Hillsboro in the west and soon will expand a few miles into north Portland.

While the growing Seattle area has been struggling with how to handle its horrible traffic mess, Portland has been moving steadily ahead in developing a public transit system that meets the publics needs and brings civic pride.

Airline passengers will appreciate the convenience of being dropped off at a MAX station or parking their car at a nearby lot and being whisked by train to within just a few feet of the baggage handling area at Portland International. A one-way ride will run $1.55, a bargain in anybodys book.

A public-private partnership was put together to make the new train possible. Bechtel Infrastructures is contributing $28 million of the $125 million cost in exchange for development rights to 120 acres near the airport.

Northeast Oregon residents can only hope that private and public dollars can be melded together successfully to allow our transportation system to improve dramatically, too.

A renewed Amtrak Pioneer passenger train and commercial air service at the Union County Airport would be desirous things to see developed as the 21st century picks up steam. Portland and its suburbs should not be the only area of Oregon seeing significant transportation improvements.

CONSIDER GOING SMALLER

After the debris is cleared and all the victims of the World Trade Center attack are accounted for, the Port of New York and New Jersey will be deciding how to replace the twin towers.

One thought would be to restore the 110-story buildings to exactly how they appeared before two terrorist-controlled airliners crashed into and destroyed them.

A new vision is needed. Replacing the towers to exactly as they looked before Tuesday will only serve to remind New York residents, visitors and the buildings occupants of this weeks awful tragedy. Will fear persist among employees in the upper floors that history will somehow repeat itself and other aircraft will come along some day and take out the new towers?

How about putting up three or four smaller buildings of lets say 50 to 60 floors on the 16-acre World Trade Center grounds? The structures would blend in much better with Manhattans skyline. They would not be viewed as much as terrorist targets. Smaller buildings would not serve as the stark reminders of Tuesdays horrific events that claimed so many lives.