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Mountain Express Line Now Leaving For Timberline ... Skibowl ... posted on 04/01/2013
The Mountain Express Line, known as MEL, is movin’ on up.

Up the mountain, that is.

Beginning in October, MEL will expand service with the addition of two winter-ready buses that will carry winter-ready customers from Sandy, through the Hwy. 26 corridor, to Government Camp, Skibowl and Timberline.

Bob Reeves, chair of the Villages at Mt. Hood, spearheaded the launching of MEL back in June, 2003, and played an integral role in the expanded service.

“I am very proud,” Reeves said. “This partnership will save the Mountain Express and ensure continued service – in a different form – into the future.”

A grant of $460,400 was secured from the U.S. Department of Transportation through a joint effort by the Mount Hood National Forest and Clackamas County to fund the bus system and boost the route to Government Camp – with numerous stops along the way.

“We are excited to expand the bus service,” said Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard. “Many federal, state and local partners came together to make this important new transit link a reality, and expand an important service for people and businesses in our county.”

Partners in the effort included Oregon Department of Transportation, City of Sandy, the three Mount Hood ski areas, Hood River County and the Villages at Mt. Hood.

“The key to this project is the public-private collaboration,” Reeves said. “In today’s world we don’t see this kind of cooperation. A special thanks goes to Teresa Christopherson, social services … who did most of the grant writing and has been a driving force behind the project.”

In February, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $12.5 million in grants for 29 projects in 20 states to improve access to national parks, forests and wildlife refuges. The selected projects – of which MEL’s expanded service is one – are designed to help reduce traffic congestion and make it easier for millions of visitors to enjoy the nation’s scenic federal lands.

The effort to expand public transit on the forest is a high priority action item identified in the Mt. Hood National Forest 2012 Alternative Transit Opportunities Study and will continue to be an ongoing effort by ODOT.

Information about these efforts can be found at: Oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION1/pages/MHMTP.aspx.

by Larry Berteau/MT


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