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Monday, April 6, 2009

This week's lie

Whatever one may think of Tri-Met's spendy light rail line to Milwaukie ("All aboard for... Milwaukie?"), there's one thing for sure: It ain't gonna create no 12,300 jobs.

It's fun to watch the fake numbers go up with every boondoggle, though. Remember the 5,000 biotech jobs that were coming to the SoWhat District? Then it was 10,000. Quite humorous. Now we're up to 12,300. Fun with numbers.

But hey, the construction companies and the unions must be fed -- in Portland, as it is on "The Sopranos." And so ever onward we go -- by streetcar!

Comments (20)

How Sustainability Really Works

(1) build lots of stuff--which creates mostly temporary, barely living-wage jobs.

(2) realize that building lots of things has lots of impact--some disastrous--so create projects that mitigate some of the damage--which creates mostly temporary, barely living-wage jobs.

(3) realize that the projects built to mitigate damage actually create their own kind of damage. notice that the middle class is going away, due to lack of economic stability and an economy built on short-term stimulus and credit.

repeat steps 1-3 as necessary, labeling appropriate parts "green" as needed to promote decisions.

Not much different from the TriMet WES Heavy Rail Project that is about 3,000 riders short of their grossly inflated ridership projection. And let's not even discuss the huge over-runs in costs.

Maybe they plan to build it by hand.

Hmmm, it's not subject to the Multnomah County Board or the clowns in Portland's city hall. Maybe the train to Milwaukie doesn't sound so bad after all.

I am not totally opposed to the Milwaukie Light Rail project, after all it will pass within short walking distance of my home in Westmoreland. However, I am already girding my loins for the inevitable, over engineering and cost overrun ridden project. This one should not kill the taxpayer. The right of way along the current rail tracks will not require the condemnation of homes and business'. People could actually ride downtown to go to work. Skip the over priced ineffectual green bits and build us a train!

I'd be shocked if they get 12,300 riders, let alone temporary construction workers.

Oh don't worry, this one will be on-time and on-budget like all the other MAX projects.

Y'know, after the retroactively edit the schedule and budget on the day the line opens...

12,300 jobs - what a load of horsesh*t.

Funny, usually the standard government formula for "job creation" is $1 million spent = 14 jobs. If they used that, 1,400 million * 14 = 19,600 jobs. Still seems high but maybe this is an attempt at honest accounting.

Dean: "The right of way along the current rail tracks will not require the condemnation of homes and business'"

You're right...the problem is, once it turns due south, somewhere around Powell, and parallels 17th Ave, and then goes along McLoughlin, it will take out many businesses. Over a hundred, I believe. In fact, that's why the project is so expensive: property acquisition and business relocation costs. 3 times the cost of the I-205/mall line, for roughly the same length of track.

creating public transit isn't inherently wrong.

but claiming that public transit construction "creates jobs" and provides some sort of long-term, benevolent economic benefit is disingenuine. almost all the jobs are TEMPORARY. and, a significant number go to workers who come to the city for the sole purpose of doing the job. it's not simply a case of "provide jobs for local workers."

same happens with development. same happens with constructing sports stadiums. highways. big bridges that cross rivers.

and, unfortunately, it applies to wind turbines. the vague, middle-finger promises of thousands of big-time "green jobs" related to wind turbines is bogus.

in other words--using development as a way to prop up an economy ultimately leads to disaster. if you thought 2008 was bad, wait for 2009 and 2010--when folks living off credit cards and selling off luxury goods reach the end of the line, and realize that they can't refi that house anymore, let alone make the giant mortgage and Subaru Outback car payment or shop at New Seasons for weekly groceries.

meanwhile, Winco and Goodwill are having explosive growth.

The city of Portland will also shift $972,673 from a project aimed at inner east side sidewalks to offset the cost of funding the study now.

What? They are diverting $1 million dollars from inner NE sidewalks to a street car route to Lake Oswego?

almost all the jobs are TEMPORARY.

Well, all jobs are temporary.

Well, all jobs are temporary.

no fair gettin' metaphysical.

Well, all human lives are temporary.

See where I am going with this little snarky ass comment?

If you support this then at least have the nuts to make an argument why; otherwise shut up because one liners are just troll comments begging to be recited and killed by cold-hearted mofos like me.

As for the PSU to Milwaukie creating 12,300 jobs, they are correct if they are adding up all the ancillary employment concerning the creation of the steel, plastic, seat cushions, etc. It is a stretch, but it is right and they cite that number to build support in a media that is in the "tank" with them.

They are dead wrong if they are referring to 12,300 living wage jobs that offer benefits and a pension for those in the Portland Metro Area. This has been discussed at length in the above comments and I am not a fan of redundancy.

This is not going to create anywhere near 12,300 jobs and somebody should be held accountable for this b.s.

Trimet is in the same league as the bank bailouts. Money down a rathole.

Very simple solution: stop electing people who are in love with big expensive projects. At some point the taxpaying public will have to realize that electing these folks is going to bankrupt us. This group of politicians will spend money without regard. They cannot control their spending themselves, the only solution to to remove them from office.

I wish our politicans would redefine "job" - instead of being that one employee found something to do (i.e. make a seat cushion for a MAX train), that the "jobs" must be related in terms of 2080 hours (40 hours a week times 52 weeks a year).

So, if 100 "jobs" are created that only work 20 hours total on the job, that's only 2,000 hours - or ***ONE*** fulltime job.

There is a huge difference between someone who gets paid $20/hour for 20 hours, or someone who gets paid $12/hour for 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year (assuming 10 days of vacation).

They're probably calculating on some sort of FAR-swapping-like basis which allows them to claim excess jobs created from some other area and apply them to a process with an anticipated job deficit.

The smart move would be to add a couple of HOT lanes to HWT99E at a fraction of the cost (especially if you don't build all the extra fancy shelters, etc), add some nice new express buses, and watch the Milwaukie commute be the envy of the region (it is already pretty good). Unfortunately, this would make rail look as bad as it really is.

How do you create 12,300 jobs?

Start with 15,000 jobs.

The line to Milwaukee will easily get 13k per riders plus per day. Even the Yellow line gets that now and it is the most absurdly slow light rail line in the region.

I'm not even going to comment on the 12,300 jobs, already did that on my blog also. :)

As for the last comment about HOT lanes, That would be the single road project that I would actually be FOR in the area. I despise the idea of roads being built on tax dollar being "free". Just stupid, as it degrades the value of the roads themselves and we get this ingrate "free" mentality toward things.

Express buses on HOT though, I'm not sure if I'm for that either though... I'd prefer HOT w/ actual FAST light/heavy rail for honest comparisons. Done right, it would be a truly competitive commute.

...ETA w/ 3-4 stops of heavy rail at speed should be about 20 minutes from Milwaukee to downtown. ETA of HOT lanes driving from Milwaukee to downtown should be about 15 minutes. ETA of light rail that actually goes with 6-7 stops should be 24-26 minutes...

When it does get done, with the way they tend to build these projects here - heavy rail would be 30 minutes, HOT lanes wouldn't exist, a bus would take 30 minutes, and the light rail will take 40-45 minutes.

...somehow Portland is getting pretty notorious for taking a particular mode, and getting ridership (re: streetcar w/ almost 12k rides per day) and making it slower than any other comparable system in the nation.

My question is WTF.

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