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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 3, 2007 6:25 PM. The previous post in this blog was Free legal advice for bloggers. The next post in this blog is Survivor Portland Bureaucracy: Day 4. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Feds to Tri-Met: Give it up

When you're more manipulative with information than the Bush administration, that's pretty bad.

Comments (19)

Mel was on the money than, and I'm betting the stats will bear him out..MAX is a loser. Somewhere in the vicinity of 3 bucks was the real price for a fare to break even. I miss Cable Access [ Mel was a feature I enjoyed immensely] in Portland almost as enjoyable as this blog.

Hooray for Mel!

These MF's are just circling the wagons (buses?) like all the other unaccountable bureaus and departments do.

There's no way to evaluate efficency without data... and there are more agencies than Tri-Met withholding data - think METRO.

Your tax dollars at work.

It's TriMet, BTW.

How cute.

Watch out for Bernie, lady.

I keep forgetting that it's a "National Security Issue". By the way, years ago I thought I had read that the breakeven cost was over four buck for a one way trip in our bus system.

Somewhere in the vicinity of 3 bucks was the real price for a fare to break even.

I dunno, I remember reading on another blog a while back (Portland Transport, I believe) that riders only pay about 19% of what it costs to operate.

I don’t think anyone has ever claimed that public transport exists anywhere without subsidy. Moving people around is expensive, which is why planning to limit it as much as possible makes sense. However, by far the most expensive way to move people is by car. A quick look to see how much car drivers (myself included) are subsidized will give you many astonishing estimates, some supplied by libertarian (actual not poseur) economists:

“A report released today by the International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA) calculates that the actual cost of a gallon of gas to the American consumer could be as high as $15.14.”

“National Defense Council Foundation (Newt Gingrich is an “advisor”), on what the gasoline we put in our cars really costs.“We’ve been going round in circles for decades,” says Milton Copulos…. Mr. Copulos has assessed hidden economic and military costs of imported oil. If military spending directly related to protecting oil supplies and other costs were reflected at the pump, he figures, gasoline would cost $5.28 a gallon in the U.S. “

None of these figures include road building, global warming, or our latest little Iraq adventure etc. So basically you and I are getting $3 to $15+ subsidy for every gallon we buy. Any anti-government libertarian type who is willing to send a check to the IRS to make up for this personal welfare payment can whine about public transport subsidies all they like. The rest of us should keep quiet for as long as it lasts. Those bikers and bus riders might want their money back.

Sherwood points fail to realize that the argument is against light rail, the most costly form of transportation and the most inconvenient, not against public transportation. Mel Zucer argued this point all along. At the meeting with ODOT engineers, they even agreed that this was the most wasteful use of transportation money. But with all that lobbying money [ exposed by Willamette Week many years ago]there was a mind set to force light rail onto us no matter the costs, think Tram. When lobbyist and planners have an ideaology there is no stopping for reasoning.

It's my understanding as a small business owner that the TriMet tax I pay accounts for approximately 70% of TriMet's funding. The bigger question is why does a regional transit district have it's board members appointed by the Governor? Doesn't it seem a bit more fair for these people to be elected by local districts?

Sherwood points fail to realize that the argument is against light rail...

Oh, Sherwood realizes that fact - it just doesn't stop him from a good screed. Facts like that just get in the way.

Cars are bad - so any alternative is good. We must all atone for our individualistic, sinful ways.

So basically you and I are getting $3 to $15+ subsidy for every gallon we buy.

Sure, if one accepts your supporting "facts" - and, if one accepts your premise that the only objective of these subsidies is to "move people". Containers would be a very efficient way to "move people" if that were really the only issue. You may want to consider just one or two other factors that involve personal freedoms and this country's collective psyche. And if public transit users are net subsidizers of automobile users, I'd be amazed. That conclusion is simplistic and unsupported by facts.

Don't go all "efficient" on one level and ignore the main point of the post - which concerns one of your beloved "public transportation" providers trying to prevent evidence of their gross inefficiencies from being seen by the public. You really can't have it both ways.

That TriMet would pull this stunt concerns me far more than your inclusive self-flagellation about subsidies.

It should concern you, too.

Sherwood I don’t think anyone has ever claimed that public transport exists anywhere without subsidy.
JK: Rose City Transit used to operate without subsidy.

Sherwood Moving people around is expensive, which is why planning to limit it as much as possible makes sense.
JK: Are you advocating limiting people’s mobility?

Sherwood However, by far the most expensive way to move people is by car. A quick look to see how much car drivers (myself included) are subsidized will give you many astonishing estimates, some supplied by libertarian (actual not poseur) economists:
“A report released today by the International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA) calculates that the actual cost of a gallon of gas to the American consumer could be as high as $15.14.”
JK: Complete garbage. We see a continuous stream of this crap from transit industry shills.. For an honest assessment see: DebunkingPortland.com/Roads/Docs/Delucchi_Chart.htm Be sure to follow the link back to well respected source.

Sherwood “National Defense Council Foundation (Newt Gingrich is an “advisor”), on what the gasoline we put in our cars really costs.“We’ve been going round in circles for decades,” says Milton Copulos…. Mr. Copulos has assessed hidden economic and military costs of imported oil. If military spending directly related to protecting oil supplies and other costs were reflected at the pump, he figures, gasoline would cost $5.28 a gallon in the U.S. “
JK: So what? Are you forgetting that transit uses imported oil too? Are you unaware that transit actually uses MORE OIL per passenger mile than small cars? See DebunkingPortland.com/Transit/BusVsCarTEDB.htm

Sherwood None of these figures include road building, global warming, or our latest little Iraq adventure etc.
JK: Neither do the transit figures. But note that the driving costs shown on DebunkingPortland DO include road costs see: DebunkingPortland.com/Transit/Cost-Cars-Transit(2005).htm (transit costs there are without road/track costs) Before you get back to me, please follow the links back to the government and trimet documents and understand the math.

Sherwood So basically you and I are getting $3 to $15+ subsidy for every gallon we buy. Any anti-government libertarian type who is willing to send a check to the IRS to make up for this personal welfare payment can whine about public transport subsidies all they like. The rest of us should keep quiet for as long as it lasts. Those bikers and bus riders might want their money back.
JK: I don’t know where to start! But, I’ll try:
* Any subsidy to private cars is tiny compared to mass transit.
* Buses use more energy than small cars. If you really want to save energy you will get off of transit onto a small car.
* If you want to complain about fuel subsidies, you have to include Buses because they use more energy than cars per passenger-mile
* Any subsidy to a car is a subsidy from most of the people to most of the people - not terribly unfair.
* Conversely a subsidy to transit is a subsidy from most of the people to a tiny minority of the people - not terribly fair except for the minority of bus riders that cannot afford to pay their own way. The rest should not be on public welfare for their transportation, especially all of those well paid city bureaucrats.

Thanks
JK
I don’t get paid from anything remotely related to my blogging - can you say the same?

Jim,

Pissing you and rr off is something I do for free and for fun. However, if you know someone who would pay me to do it I beg you to send me their information. Talk about dream job.

Meanwhile, I tell you we are getting a $15 subsidy (my personal guestimate is it’s much higher) per gallon for driving and you tell me that is tiny compared to mass transit. I guess we are at an impasse. By the way I’m not advocating limiting mobility, just removing as many of the pointless miles as possible and giving people a choice. It’s all about the choice, something that doesn’t even exist in much of the US.

I accept that buses use oil too, that why I love MAX and streetcars so much (I’m getting a warm feeling just typing the words). There we have some choices about where we get the power, although they may get a bit slow when the wind drops.

Rr. I’m not sure if you’re on the money with the car hatred thing. Maybe tomorrow I’ll not turn on the heated seats in my Volvo as punishment for my sins. When driving my car the one thing I lack is a smug sense of superiority that comes from believing that I’m driving free of government subsidy on the freeway in freedom’s land. In fact it would be odd economic behavior for me to find an alternative. Those bike riders you hate so much are still paying their share of war, healthcare, oil subsidy, construction etc… costs but I’m getting the benefit.

The one thing I will never understand is why an honor system fare system on Max. How tough would it be to put in turnstyles?

But if I pay the taxes that the government uses to subsidize the price of gasoline...

...the one thing I lack is a smug sense of superiority that comes from believing that I’m driving free of government subsidy on the freeway in freedom’s land.

That only eliminates one possible source.

Those bike riders you hate so much are still paying their share of war, healthcare, oil subsidy, construction etc… costs but I’m getting the benefit.

Wrong.

WE'RE getting the benefit.

Besides, those bike riders are either riding by choice - which, it has been said, ...doesn’t even exist in much of the US - or they're too poor to pay taxes at all. It's a win-win situation. Fire up the heated seats, old darling.

And while I'm on the subject of heated seats, I'm reasonably certain that PGE supplies the juice for MAX and the streetcar - one wonders whether TriMet and/or the city buy exclusively "green" power for them. If not then your MAX ride is powered, at least in part, by coal.

Ripping!

Oh, and not to put too fine a point on it, but pissing me off is something you've yet to accomplish. Amusing me, yes - but, one can always hope.

A friend of mine tells me she has air-conditioned seats in her new car.

could be dangerous straight out of the pool.

think tongue on a lamppost.

"We're" getting the benefit. You collectivist old tart you.

To motorists who believe that they are not subsidized: Do you pay for your parking? Or pollution (40+% of Big Pipe needed for road runoff)? Or oil defense (if people were efficient and rode transit, maybe it wouldn't be needed)?

And no, mass transit is not highly subsidized or polluting when you compare *well-used* transit to the *average* private vehicle used to travel (including SUVs). And if we eliminated the subsidies listed above, more transit might actually be well-used. (Now, a lot of transit is provided as a "social service"--to people who may not have another way to travel).


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