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Monday, November 17, 2003

Money pit

Funny story in The Oregonian yesterday about how the budget for the OHSU aerial tram project has been... ahem... revised. Instead of the $15.5 million that was originally projected, we're now up to between $24 million and $30.2 million. And counting.

Of course, ground's already been broken on the development at the foot of this Rich Men's Toy, and the tram is supposedly the key to the whole project. And so you can bet we'll be building Vera's Gondola regardless of whether it costs $30 million, $40 million, or $50 million.

There's all kinds of hemming and hawing about who will pay the 55-to-95 percent budget over-run. But let's face it, folks, the only private money in the picture is Homer Williams's, and you're not getting any of that. So it's going to be some group of taxpayers or another -- city, county, state, federal.

This is what the taxpayers of Portland need most right now -- a $30 million aerial freakin' tram.

And hey, Mr. Mayoral Candidate Jim Francesconi. Don't think we didn't notice that you've got your fingerprints all over this one. Those of us who think it's time for a change from this kind of nonsense are wondering whether you're really our guy.

Comments (4)

Not only should htis not be a surprise just because it's what tends to happen around here, but there had just been an interview with the architect in The Oregonian in which she called the $15.5 million figure "political" -- essentially, the number was the number the City could sell.

This tram has got to be the biggest gimmicky scam I've ever seen. You know that the people who work at OHSU smoke and drink too much to do anything other than drive to work. Getting on the tram might almost require exercise. It's never going to work. And we're going to fund it. Bah humbug.

As the City Council said that it chose the tram over the other alternatives based in large part on the cost, and as the City Council now knows that the cost figure it relied on is a piece of junk, the Council needs to go back and look at the other alternatives, including building a tunnel instead of a tram.

The tunnel could connect to the streetcar, or light rail, or the Willamette River rail; the tram never can.

As long as the city doesn't care about huge cost overruns, let's think big: continue the tram *up* the hill to Council Crest (its line runs to Greenway Avenue about 400 feet from Council Crest Drive) so the doctors can use it to get home.

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