ODOT looks to bring passenger trains to Corvallis, Junction City

EUGENE, Ore. -- A project that would bring passenger rail lines to some cities around the Willamette Valley is picking up steam, and state officials are looking for public input.

Passenger rail service in Oregon has in increased about 2 to 4 percent since they opened a 125-mile line from Eugene to Portland in the 90's, the Oregon Department of Transportation report says. Their new proposed project is aimed at increasing passenger travel even more by broadening the service area.

Jim Cox is heading up ODOT's new rail project and says the department is considering four alternatives. One proposed line would run from Eugene through Junction City, Corvallis and back towards Salem.

State representative Sara Gelser says that Corvallis depends on unreliable public transportation.

"If we're looking at how we're going to move people around for the next 100 years, we need to find a way to have Corvallis in that plan," says Gelser.

Oregon State professor Glencora Borradaile agrees, saying "Two-thirds of the people who work in Corvallis don't live in Corvallis. On top of that we have a giant university that's only growing in size," said Borradaile.

Cox says ODOT will listen to public input at a open meeting Wednesday at the Eugene Public Library from 5 to 7 p.m. before deciding a route and applying for federal grant money.