With more than 50,000 Clark County residents commuting to jobs in Oregon and battling almost daily traffic jams, there must be a better way to get to Portland using existing infrastructure.
That sentiment is reflected in the question submitted for Clark Asks, where Columbian readers suggest topics and vote on which story should get covered.
The most recent winning question, asked by a reader who wants to remain anonymous, was: “Why doesn’t Amtrak offer train service from the station in Vancouver into downtown Portland during normal commute hours?”
The simple answer is that’s not what Amtrak does. The National Railroad Passenger Corp., better known as Amtrak, provides inter-city passenger service in 46 states and Washington, D.C., but does not offer commuter service within metropolitan areas.
Commuter rail service is typically offered by local transit agencies, such as TriMet. In addition to its MAX light rail lines, TriMet also owns the Westside Express Service, a 14.7-mile commuter rail line that runs between Beaverton, Ore., and Wilsonville, Ore., on Portland’s west and south side. Ridership has been a problem, according to Portland media.