Looking Forward to 2009: Openings and Construction Starts

2009 looks like it’s going to be a big year in transportation. Of course we’re all excited about the promise of the Obama administration, and we’re looking forward to California’s big HSR system getting going, but there are a lot of existing projects far further ahead in the planning process.

Here’s a review of the transit lines that are going to open for service in the next year, followed by the projects expected to begin construction. Note that the latter list is subject to change; though all have at least some guaranteed funding, arbitrary decisions by the FTA, or state or municipal governments can go a long way in delaying or even cancelling theoretically “definite” projects. More information on projects both entering into service and planned can be found on their respective pages.

New Service



  • Austin Capital MetroRail opens (32-mile CR DMU), connecting Downtown with Leander, via North Austin. (March 30)


  • Edmonton South LRT Extension opens (2-mile LRT), connecting existing Health Sciences Station to a new South Campus Station. (April 26)


  • Seattle Link Central Line Phase I opens (13.9-mile LRT), connecting Downtown with Tukwila, via SODO, Columbia City, and Rainer Beach. (July 3)


  • Dallas DART Green Line Phase I opens (2.7-mile LRT), connecting existing Victory Station to MLK Station, via existing Downtown tracks and new southeast tracks. The rest of the line will open in December 2010.
  • Portland MAX Green Line opens (6.5-mile LRT), connecting Clackamas Town Center with Gateway Transit Center, and continuing on existing MAX Red and Blue Lines to Downtown Portland. New Portland Mall with tracks for MAX Green and Yellow Lines, running north-south on 5th and 6th Streets, from Union Station to Portland State University, also will open at this time. (Buses will return to the Mall in May.)


  • Vancouver Skytrain Canada Line opens (12-mile LRT), connecting Downtown with the Airport and Richmond, via Broadway and Bridgeport. (November 30)


  • Los Angeles MTA Gold Line Eastside Extension opens (6-mile LRT), connecting existing Pasadena-L.A. Gold Line to East L.A., via little Tokyo.
  • Minneapolis Northstar Commuter Rail opens (51-mile CR), connecting Downtown Minneapolis with Big Lake.
  • Seattle Link Central Line Phase II opens (1.7 mile LRT), extending line open in summer 2009 to SeaTac International Airport.

New Construction Starts

  • Calgary C-Train
  • Charlotte CATS
  • Dallas DART
  • Denver RTD
  • Honolulu
    • Main Line (20-mile LRT), connecting Kapolei with Ala Moana Center, via Salt Lake and Downtown.
  • Houston METRO
    • North Corridor (5.2 mile LRT), extending existing north-south MetroRail from Downtown Houston to Northline Transit Center.
    • Southeast Corridor (6.1-mile LRT), connecting Downtown with Palm Center Transit Station.
    • University Corridor (10-mile LRT), connecting University of Houston with Hillcroft Transit Center.
    • Uptown Corridor (4-mile LRT), connecting Northwest Transit Center with Richmond.
  • Miami
  • Montreal
  • New York (New Jersey Transit)
  • Portland Streetcar
  • Salt Lake City TRAX
    • Airport Line (6-mile LRT), connecting Downtown with the Airport.
  • San Francisco BART
  • Seattle Sound Transit
    • University Link (3.15-mile LRT), extending under construction Central Link LRT from Downtown to University of Washington, via Capitol Hill.
  • Tucson
    • Downtown Transit (3.9-mile Streetcar), connecting Downtown with University of Arizona.
  • Vancouver
  • Washington
    • Metro Dulles Silver Line (23-mile Metro), connecting West Falls Church with Loudon County, via Tysons Corner and Dulles Airport. (March 2 start date)
    • Downtown Circulators (4-mile streetcar), first line is along the Anacostia waterfront.

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