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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 9, 2010 9:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was Mike Powell's couplet posse. The next post in this blog is Tur-boner. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

All aboard for the poor farm

John Charles, the Portland right-wing policy wonk extraordinaire, sounds off on what's pushing Tri-Met over the brink of financial ruin. Not surprisingly, it's employee benefits and wasteful rail and streetcar projects.

Comments (43)

Will there be any change as long as Tri-Met is governed from outside the electorate?

I believe that State law allows Metro to assume control of Tri-Met, should they choose. Maybe now is the time.

Huh? Reduce fringe benefits, cut rail service on unproductive routes, AND increase bus service on productive routes..?

This guy is delusional.

Oh, so do pretty much exactly the opposite of what they're doing now... instead of cutting popular route frequency, increase it. Instead of continuing to build rail (while the Green line isn't bringing in a ton of folks, it's still better than the WES), reduce the expansion.

Hmmmmm

"Metro to assume control of Tri-Met

OMG

That's like turning control over the hen house from the fox to the wolf.

The is nothing that could accomplish as much than stopping the Milwaukie light rail.
Defunding the project and killing it would benefit layers of goverment coffers, taxpayers and transit users.

Halt the use of Urban Renewal for any of it and it't killed.
Defund the $250 million from the lottery and speaker Dave hunt will have an even bigger wad of money than the one he sees from the 15% for parks and fish he is targetting.
Kill Milwaukie Light rail.

It's a 7 mile, $200 million/mile boondoggle that makes WES look good.

The MAX green line ridership is a failure and there's been a 56% increase in crime along it's corridor.

Wake up and stop the madness.

Ben, you are correct, but try making your argument to Metro commissioner Liberty, the point pol on the Milwaukie Light Rail boondoggle. Then get back to us with what you've learned about "layers of government coffers."

... there's been a 56% increase in crime along [the MAX Green Line] corridor.

Got a source for that statistic?

Very good analysis. This is the perfect example of what is happening on many government levels. Even as revenue goes up, we get LESS service, largely because the growth in benefits outstrips inflation/economic growth.

From the fed level on down, we'll be paying MORE for LESS service, so that a bus driver can have a much nicer retirement than a bank clerk.

I don't mean to speak for Mr. Charles but I don't think he would refer to himself or the CPI as "right-wing". If anything they are far left of you Jack. Liberal in the classic sense, like our founding fathers.

Wikipedia says "right-wing and the Right are generally used to describe support for social stratification, the preservation of social order, and upholding traditional values." --think anti-abortion, limits on speech and behavior.

"left-wing, leftist and the Left are generally used to describe support for social change with a view towards creating a more egalitarian society."--think income redistribution, welfare state, central planning and control of behavior, extensive intervention of government into economy.

Both right-wing and left-wing are for big government control and redistribution... just in different ways.

CPI is more Libertarian which is neither right-wing or left-wing. The political spectrum is more of a tri-angle than a line.

This is a welcome change of pace for Charles, who usually can't find anything positive to say about anything government does. And his logic and data in this piece are solid.

The only problem is, as has been said by others, Tri-Met doesn't want to be in the transportation business. If it were, it would be expanding, not cutting, bus service, including adding more high-frequency routes and building a bus rapid transit (rather than rail) network.

Instead, it really wants to be -- and is -- in the development business first and second in the grant-writing business (also known as the "sucking-off-the-federal-teat" business).

Gardiner Menefree,
I don't get your point.
Do you assume I haven't talked with Liberty et al and they have something I don't already know have about "layers of government coffers"?
You would be wrong.


none,
You want a source?
Are more worried about me making things up than you are with TriMet BS?

The 56% increase is rock solid and comes from a local police agency who I cannot yet quote.

You want to assume otherwise or ignore it like TriMet and Metro always do then go ahead.

The 56% increase is rock solid and comes from a local police agency who I cannot yet quote.

Sounds a little like Nixon's secret plan to end the war in Vietnam...he just can't give details at the present time.

a 56% increase in crime following the installation of light rail is much more believable then a 5% reduction in traffic along the same rail line.

Tell me what ". . . right-wing policy wonk extraordinaire" has to do with the issue of a transit system that apparently is in
disarray.

Tri-Met "crime" mostly involves break-ins of cars @ park and ride lots.

Someone was shot in the head (in a car, while driving) on highway 26 a few years ago from road rage. It hardly made the paper in news.

Put that same crime on MAX, and you've got a solid news story for about 5 months or more, with frightened soccer moms decrying how unsafe it is. This goes to show our extreme bias and logic regarding crime and transit.

We do the same thing with our youth by keeping them away from the city and making them become auto-dependent in the suburbia.

"Don't smoke pot or join a gang, Billy!" Says his parents, as he throws the keys to the family car. Have fun speeding down the highway in a two-ton cage of steel, disregarding the fact that the leading cause of death for teenagers is automobile accidents (not gangs, drugs, and obviously not transit).

Just something to ponder.

Yes, send your kids everywhere on Tri-Met. That'll turn out great.

Tri-Met "crime" mostly involves break-ins of cars @ park and ride lots.

oh, lets not forget elderly citizens being beaten by teenagers, folks trying to help them getting beaten for it, purses stolen, etc.

John Charles is an ideologue, pure and simple.
He sees everything from one point of view, MONEY!
In the eyes of the John Charles's of the world if it doesn't make a profit than it shouldn't exist.
As far as I am concerned, that is a despicable ideology.

But is he right about the rail and streetcar, Al?

;)

John Charles seems to have a view that if people won't pay for something (ie: expects someone else to pay for their choices), then perhaps it is not of sufficient value that the government should do either. (Do not confuse this with truly needy people who cannot afford necessities - that is a separate subject, often purposeful confused by those merely looking for a free ride.)

Of course, there is much low hanging fruit, around Portland, of things that are so expensive that no sane person would do them. Light rail is in this category. Streetcars even more so. They have NO transportation purpose what so ever compared to buses.

BTW, who here disagrees that the drug war should end?
Who disagrees with equal rights for all?
Who disagrees that the right to own a gun DOES NOT imply that some one else should pay for your gun?
As far as I know all of the above are consistent with Cascade's philosophy.

Thanks
JK

Speaking of costs not covered by John Charles:

How much does it cost taxpayers to pay for car accidents (safety services like firetrucks), traffic court costs, incarceration costs from vehicular crimes, traffic cops, oil wars, and environmental degradation all due to cars?

This is not meant to be an anti-car rebuttal, I like cars and they play a role in our transportation system, but obviously if cars actually had to pay their way we wouldn't need to subsidize transit and John Charles could do something more productive with his day.

But the logic of the Cascade Policy Institute -- which I believe is blatantly contradicting their libertarian views -- seems to dismiss these costs which we all pay for.

Example:

Who do you think paid for this?

http://www.oregonlive.com/roadreport/index.ssf/2010/03/tanker_truck_rolls_closes_nort.html

Was the driver handed an invoice for the mess that was caused? Nope, free fire, free police, and free cleanup I'm assuming.

But is he right about the rail and streetcar, Al?

YA!

Mr Charles holds a special hatred for public transit, as does Mr Karlock.

They never rave about waste at the pentagon, or corporate subsidizes, or unreasonable tax credits for the rich, no, transit is their special demon.

The rail is a wasteful boondoggle.
All those services can be provided much more cheaply by buses.

I do not support wasteful government spending, on transit or anything else.


I am the first one to admit that Trimet is a wasteful inefficient bloated bureaucracy. It engages in unreasonable and unsustainable policies of growth!

The health care cost problem is not a Trimet created problem however, its a problem with Amerika.

Taking away our health care is not going to improve the lives of one single American!

That money will be eaten up by the bloated bureaucracy.

We can't survive without government.
The government can't survive with its current structure, answering only to itself.

This country is in an awful predicament, hopefully we can figure some way out of it without destroying the lives of ordinary Americans.

Trimet is a microcosm of what is wrong with the government today.

Trying to do too much with too little.

Come on Al and ws.

John Charles is not the ideological hater of transit some here are diverting to.
Far from it.
His reports reality and all based on TriMet data.

Any effort to marginalize the reports and Charles is the work of the real ideologues who would rather see the status quo continue than endorse and/or join any non-progressive in demanding and end to it.

AlM, your diverting is pathetic.
Charles and Karlock are trying to deal with local issues. Mr Charles holds a special hatred for public transit, as does Mr Karlock.
There is no local pentgagon and corporate subsidies and tax credits have no connection either.
But they both certainly are opposed to waste anywhere and have criticized the 100s of millions wasting BETC Oregon perpetrated.

Your attempt to cast their criticism of TriMet as irrational ideologicla hatred of transit is nothing but the usual stunt played by TriMet itself and TriMet/rail supporters at PortlandTransport.com

You appear to agree about the horrific management both Charles and Karlock have pointed out for years but what, are they the wrong type of people?

Why don't you get real pal?

Your spin on TriMet health care is pure distortion.Propaganda like and counter productive.

The TriMet Health/Welfare benefits for their FT union workers that go from $10,600 in 2003 to $ 19,082 in 2011 is not a problem created by "Amerika" and it doesn't require the "taking away your health".

You might as well be trying to blame WES on Amerika and it TriMet health care were like any average public or private coverage it would be half the cost.

But the severe trouble at TriMet is at every level and every activity..

Your excuses for no action stinks.

De-funding Milwaukie MAX and restructuring TriMet would not simply result in the money being eaten up by the bloated bureaucracy.

That's asinine.

And what's with the canard "We can't survive without government"

No kidding?

Is that what the current TriMet is? Government we can't survive without?

It's circling the drain because of massive mismanagement.

Will it take a total collapse before people like you stop obstructing the remedies with BS?

That's what it took for the 22 Jackson County libraries because people like you pulled the same stunts. Then after they all closed the unions hacks demanded they stay closed.

They all reopened at half the cost by using a private operator.

TriMet is a much bigger problem and run by a dishonest and corrupted hierarchy.

That's where the ideological fanatics are. Throughout the bureaucracy and politics driving a lunatic agenda that misspends far beyond any possible funding level.

Your suggestion that they are simply "Trying to do too much with too little" is a lazy and enabling distortion of the problem.

"APRIL"

Your entitled to your opinion, obviously I am diametrically opposed to your opinion, and you've stated no case to move my mind toward your point of view whatsoever, but I appreciate your attempt.

Your welcome to continue trying and I will continue reading.

Good luck to you!

AL M

That last comment was supposed to be addressed to "BEN", rather than the month of april.

On Mr Charles HOMEPAGE you will see the allegiance to this "tea party" movement.

That's all we need to know about Mr Charles ad his followers.

In past American history, they were the pro slave movement.

One last comment for you John Charles fans;
Here is the VIDEO of your hero making his points at the service cut hearings.

al m: On Mr Charles HOMEPAGE you will see the allegiance to this "tea party" movement.
JK: The mere posting of a fact does not constitute “allegiance”

al m: That's all we need to know about Mr Charles ad his followers.
JK: If he were (and I don’t know) a tea party follower, that only would indicate he is in favor of financial responsibility.

al m: In past American history, they were the pro slave movement.
JK: No you are completely wrong. They are a new organization, there is no “in the past”.
However if you want to talk about the past of political parties, it was the Republicans who freed the slaves (Lincoln) and the Democrats who supported slavery at the time. It was a Democrat who segregated Washington DC in the late 1800s. We even have a Democrat Klu Klux Klan grand dragon in congress (Senator Robert Byrd). (For those who don’t know I am neither a Republican or Democrat.)

The closest thing we have to slavery today is high taxes taking over 50% of some peoples income. (Taking 100% would be slavery.)
(Jack - what is the highest local+state+Federal tax + SS percentage that you know of?)

Thanks
JK

alm,
What exactly is it you are opposed to?

You left that part out while trying to attack the messengers.

Are you not in agreement that Milwaukie Light Rail must be stopped?
Or that TriMet is is likely the worst run agency in the state?

John Charles is entirely objective and thorough in his research and reporting.
Where is he wrong?

His entire presentation he gave this week was accurate and above yesterday ay

How much does it cost taxpayers to pay for car accidents (safety services like firetrucks), traffic court costs, incarceration costs from vehicular crimes, traffic cops, oil wars, and environmental degradation all due to cars?

How much does it cost taxpayers to send firetrucks to high school sporting events to cover football players who are injured on school district property during non-educational events? How much does it cost taxpayers to respond to fallen bicyclists who fall down and break their leg on the Springwater Trail? How much does it cost taxpayers to respond to structure fires because the homeowner illegally performed electrical work without a permit, and wasn't up to code? Homeless folk in downtown Portland passed out from drugs or alcohol abuse? Downtown Portland protests gone ugly?

The last time I checked, if you go to court you have to pay a court fee.

Incarceration costs for vehicular crimes? Let's just take a look at Washington County's jail roster (since I live in Washington County, and Multnomah County's system is difficult to look at an inmate's charge unless I look at each inmate individually...)

In the "A"s: Only four of the 46 inmates with last names beginning with the letter "A" were charged with a motor vehicle code violation. The rest were parole violations, assualts, murders, burlgaries, thefts, strangulation, sex crimes, etc. Why do you believe that motor vehicle crimes are in a class of themselves and they should be held accountable for their costs, but the other scum of the earth don't have to repay their costs to society? And considering many of them are probably illegal occupants - what is your stand on that? Why should we harbor these folks - why not send them to a tent prison right next to the Mexican border, and save our fully enclosed jail and prison cells for our own citizens who more likely may have at some point paid taxes for that cell?

Oil Wars - hey, blame Bush for that one. I didn't vote for him. While you're at it, blame Obama for continuing the war. Meanwhile, we still get virtually zero oil from Iraq, we do not receive oil from Iran...so your argument that it's an oil war is debatable if the outcome of the war did not produce oil flow to the U.S.

Environmental degradation - OK, then let's restore downtown Portland and the Pearl District to its native state. A wetland and lake. By doing so it would eliminate much of the flooding problem up and down the Willamette and its tributaries.

You don't blame the rapid increase of electric demand, and production - primarily through the Boardman Coal Plant where Portland gets a substantial amount of its power, and is the largest single-source polluter in the entire state, and the cause of acid rain in the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area. And even Metro confirmed earlier this week, that transportation is not the largest pollution source. What are you doing to reduce your pollution?

I believe that State law allows Metro to assume control of Tri-Met, should they choose. Maybe now is the time.

Fred, your heart is in the right place, but Metro is just as bad as TriMet.

I think Washington County ought to take the lead (since of the three counties, it has the best chance of success) and vote out Metro, TriMet and the Port of Portland. Clackamas County could follow and vote them out (although Clackamas County has warmed up to Metro lately, and TriMet has really through the county a bone lately.)

Multnomah County will be stuck running the state's largest airport, the state's historical society, the Sellwood Bridge, a regional transit agency, Sam's pet projects... Maybe, just maybe, they'll learn their lesson.

ws Says: Speaking of costs not covered by John Charles:
How much does it cost taxpayers to pay for car accidents (safety services like firetrucks), traffic court costs, incarceration costs from vehicular crimes, traffic cops, oil wars, and environmental degradation all due to cars?

JK: Aw, come on ws - that claim was thoroughly debunked over at Portland transport. You referred us to a federal chart of national, state & local road expenses. Turned out it showed a total subsidy of about 1.1 cents per passenger mile to road users compared to a subsidy of about 60 cents per passenger mile for transit. This is a 54:1 difference. For details see: http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=2199

When you add in the fact that the user pays for the car, fuel, tax, insurance maintenance etc, that 1.1c/pm is about 4% subsidy. Compare this to transit’s approximately 80% subsidy.

So which should government money support? Transportation that needs a 4% subsidy or one that needs an 80% subsidy? (Of course road users could easily chip in an extra 4%, while transit users are unlikely to want to pay 5 times what they pay today, especially when that would make riding transit far more expensive than owning a car. Even at the 80% subsidy, transit costs more than driving for trips shorter than about 10 miles.)

Again I ask, since public transit uses MORE energy per passenger-mile than a small car, costs 2-5 times as much as an average car and is takes about twice the time for the average commute, what is the public benefit of promoting mass transit (other than serving the needy, which is another subject)? See http://www.portlandFacts.com for proof of these claims.

Thanks
JK

@Erik H:

1) Anything that physically moves is prone to accidents. Cars are no exception. I'm not saying hand an invoice at the time of a terrible car accident, just that they impose an externalized cost on drivers and non-drivers. Simply increase gas taxes to cover that cost instead of increasing taxpayers' rates. Increase transit tickets to cover security protection as well. It works both ways.

Regarding homeless people and drug/ alcohol abuse, do the same thing with assessing a fee. Increase taxes on these items (well, at least alcohol) and help fund drug rehab programs. Alcohol has a very negative impact on society just like cars do. I buy lots of micros and alcohol and I have no problem paying a few extra cents to fund rehab programs for these devastating things that cost society. Why should Grandma Sue have to pay money in taxes to the general fund to pay for an alcoholic homeless person who creates property crime and is a drag on society? She shouldn't have to -- consumers of alcohol should collectively pitch in to pay for this.

Certain things are okay to be burdened on all of society. Safety services like your home burning or being a victim of crime or being injured in a football game are acceptable to be collectively paid for, imo. Even at the very nitty gritty, sports fees could be increased ever so little and that would more than cover these services for a high school sport game.

2) Oil wars were going on before Bush and Obama. This is nothing new.

3) Portland was built before we knew about ecosystems and the environment. Energy and environmentally wise, it's better to live denser. It consumes less land and saves energy.

Here's my platform:

Decrease taxes and increase user fees. Let the users of whatever pay their costs -- internal and external -- as I have outlined in my post.

PS:

I am arguing from a *very* Libertarian standpoint here. John Charles should be proud, but he won't because I'm not "railing" against the evil public transit like he and other pseudo-free marketeers do.

JK:

Cars *only* getting 4% subsidy according to your fuzzy math? Don't be so modest. What people pay for their cars or their insurance has nothing to do with subsidies.

You have once again avoided the externalized cost of automobiles. Even looking at their internal costs of maintenance and road construction, they're subsidized a bunch just like transit.

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2008/hf10.cfm

http://subsidyscope.com/transportation/highways/funding/

Stalin himself would approve of our highway system.

ws:
JK:

Cars *only* getting 4% subsidy according to your fuzzy math? Don't be so modest. What people pay for their cars or their insurance has nothing to do with subsidies.
JK: OK, then just look at the subsidies per passenger-mile. O’Toole did this and got 1.1 cents per passenger mile (like I said above.)

ws: You have once again avoided the externalized cost of automobiles. Even looking at their internal costs of maintenance and road construction, they're subsidized a bunch just like transit.
JK: There is a big difference between 1.1 cents for cars and 60 cents per passenger mile for transit. This is a 54:1 difference. For details see: http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=2199 (As I said above. Are you having trouble reading?)

I notice that you don’t even try answer the question: what is the social benefit of mass transit?

Thanks
JK

Cascade Policy Institute is not solely focused on mass-transit and they are pro-bus transit by the way. Issues include:
Asset Ownership, Climate Change, Education Reform, Environment, Health Care, Land Use, Rural Issues, Social Security, Taxes and Budget, & Unemployment Insurance

JK:

1.1 cents per passenger mile? Oh, you mean 61 billion dollars in non-user fee dollars?

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2008/hf10.cfm

"I notice that you don’t even try answer the question: what is the social benefit of mass transit?"

I assume this is a bait question, whereas I answer your question and you post a link to your terrible website. But I'll still answer it:

The "social benefit" won't be truly captured for any mode until transportation modes pay their fair share. As it stands, typical transit social benefits include mobility for the poor and handicapped.

You do know that paratransit service cuts into every transit agencies' budget?

Maybe John Charles and CPI can do an article on how it costs Trimet $27 dollars/ boarding subsidy to keep LIFT service going?

If anyone's curious, I truly do have free-market leanings, just so many Libertarian "think tanks" are hypocritical to their core identity.

John:

Would CPI be pro-bus if they actually realized it costs more on (major routes) to run buses than it would to run rail over a 25 year stretch (capital cost included)**?

LR cars can last up to 60 years. They need fewer drivers to move the same amount of people because LR carries that many more people (sorry Al M) and electricity is cheaper than gas. Pro-bus only transit pushers don't factor this in, and simply look at opening day costs of given projects. That's misleading. We need operation and system costs included over time.

**Also note that buses pay nothing in regards to funding the roads they ride on.**

PS: I am mostly anti-streetcar and do not think that LR can replace our bus system (and I think that Milwaukie line is going to be expensive and not that successful). If anyone's curious on my stance.

On major routes like the blue line, buses would cost more over time, I would assert.

ws:
JK:

1.1 cents per passenger mile? Oh, you mean 61 billion dollars in non-user fee dollars?
JK: OH MY GOD!!! That’s almost $200 per person per YEAR. A Trimet rider gets almost double that subsidy per MONTH. ($8/trip x 2 trips/day x 25 days/mo = $400) A 24 to 1 ratio.

And it is still 1.1 cents per passenger-mile compared to transit subsidy of 60 cents per passenger-mile.

ws: The "social benefit" won't be truly captured for any mode until transportation modes pay their fair share. As it stands, typical transit social benefits include mobility for the poor and handicapped.
JK: The real question is: is there a better (or cheaper) way to accomplish this? (BTW, those handicapped who happen to be rich don’t need welfare.)

ws: Maybe John Charles and CPI can do an article on how it costs Trimet $27 dollars/ boarding subsidy to keep LIFT service going?
JK: Good idea. Compare it to cab fare! And cabs arrive withing minutes of calling them.

ws: If anyone's curious, I truly do have free-market leanings,
JK: Couldda fooled me!

Thanks
JK

ws:
John:

Would CPI be pro-bus if they actually realized it costs more on (major routes) to run buses than it would to run rail over a 25 year stretch (capital cost included)**?
JK: Look at real numbers, not TriMet propaganda. LRT replaces ONLY the most productive bus lines: Banfield express; Interstate Ave bus; Sunset express. IF you compare LRT’s $0.434 per passenger-mile with the type of bus line LRT replaces which cost $0.34 per passenger-mile you get a different picture. (For details, see http://www.portlandfacts.com/transit/cost-cars-transit%282005%29b.htm )

ws: LR cars can last up to 60 years.
JK: Then how come 20-30 year old rail systems around the country are facing deferred maintenance costs close to the total original construction costs. That was cited as part of the reason for some recent high profile accidents.

ws: They need fewer drivers to move the same amount of people because LR carries that many more people (sorry Al M) and
JK: The average light rail vehicle carries 25 people.

ws: electricity is cheaper than gas.
JK: This is just about the only thing that is cheaper!

ws: Pro-bus only transit pushers don't factor this in, and simply look at opening day costs of given projects. That's misleading. We need operation and system costs included over time.
JK: The published numbers include system costs. Both bus and rail reported costs ignore most right of way costs, making the actual subsidy much higher than reported.

ws: **Also note that buses pay nothing in regards to funding the roads they ride on.**
JK: Mostly the same for light rail.

ws: PS: I am mostly anti-streetcar and do not think that LR can replace our bus system (and I think that Milwaukie line is going to be expensive and not that successful). If anyone's curious on my stance.
JK: Good start. Now look at the reality of the whole system before and after light rail.

ws: On major routes like the blue line, buses would cost more over time, I would assert.
JK: Lets see some data for that claim. Also note that the high number of riders come from forcing people to ride rail if they want any transit at all, because the changed the bus routes from direct into town to mere feeders to the toy train. This makes the bus look more expensive and rail less. Also a number of rail expenses end up in the bus overhead. Before rail many trips were faster. So add in the value of all that wasted time.

Thanks
JK

JK:OH MY GOD!!! That’s almost $200 per person per YEAR.

ws:Yeah, for every man woman and child in the US. Of course you didn't mention that and made it seem as if it were *only* 200 dollars per driver, which is not the case.

JK:"($8/trip x 2 trips/day x 25 days/mo = $400)"

ws:I'm going to say it doesn't cost $8 per ride on Tri-Met. A single LR riders gets about .90 cents in subsidy, while a bus rider gets $2.00 a ride in subsidy. Add in capital costs (amortized and paid over slowly years down the road) would not yield that high of cost/ride. I'm not going to do the math, but it's definitely a SWAG.

Fare-recovery ratio for LR is a good 45%.

Anyways, that 60 billion is just direct costs for highways in the US. You forgot externalized costs, as usual.

For anyone bored enough to follow this discussion, about 65% of highways are paid for in true user-fees. The rest is subsidy.

Add on top of that the externalized cost of automobiles from fee safety services, free military for oil operations in the ME, and environmental damage from cars; auto users would need to be paying at the very least $1.00 more per gallon to cover these activities. Other estimates put this number way higher.

JK:"Couldda fooled me!"

ws:I've made a consistent Libertarian argument throughout this thread: Let the users of the system pay their full way.

Sorry for the clutter on this thread. I had to get my say in.

ws: Yeah, for every man woman and child in the US. Of course you didn't mention that and made it seem as if it were *only* 200 dollars per driver, which is not the case.

JK: Wikipedia says there are 291 million cars and I used 300 million in my calculation, so make that subsidy $200 per car per YEAR compared to $400 per transit rider per MONTH (If you want to compare drivers, 196 million drivers would get a $300 YEARLY subsidy compared to a tranit rider’s $400 MONTHLY subsidy.) But those road expenditures increasingly are not for cars but for transit & bikes as is obvious from a superficial look at Portland’s road projects list, so it is likely that that $200/ year number is really ZERO or negative.

ws: I'm going to say it doesn't cost $8 per ride on Tri-Met.
JK: Then you are going to have to explain why the overall system fair box recovery is only about 20% per Trimet data.

ws: Anyways, that 60 billion is just direct costs for highways in the US. You forgot externalized costs, as usual.
JK: So do you!!! Aside from the very high cost of transit $0.85 per passenger-mile, roughly 80% of which is subsidized.

ws: For anyone bored enough to follow this discussion, about 65% of highways are paid for in true user-fees. The rest is subsidy.
JK: Yeah about 1.1 cents per passenger-mile for highway users compared to transit’s 60 cents per passenger-mile, a 55:1 ratio!

ws: Add on top of that the externalized cost of automobiles from fee safety services, free military for oil operations in the ME, and environmental damage from cars; auto users would need to be paying at the very least $1.00 more per gallon to cover these activities. Other estimates put this number way higher.
JK: And independent estimates put this small if any. Please quit relying on the transit industry for auto related data - they lie. As to your phony military for oil argument, you forget that the average car is more efficient than the average bus per passenger-mile.

ws: I've made a consistent Libertarian argument throughout this thread: Let the users of the system pay their full way.
JK: Followed up by repeating smart growth lies about cars and pretending that transit is only lightly subsidized.

Thanks
JK

LR cars can last up to 60 years. They need fewer drivers to move the same amount of people because LR carries that many more people (sorry Al M) and electricity is cheaper than gas. Pro-bus only transit pushers don't factor this in, and simply look at opening day costs of given projects. That's misleading. We need operation and system costs included over time.

Actually, that is equally "misleading".

Light rail vehicles can last up to 60 years with proper maintenance. So can buses. In fact, King County Metro (Seattle's transit agency) took a fleet of Breda dual-power buses built in 1990-1991 (the same year as TriMet's oldest Gillig Phantoms, in the 1400 and 1600 series) and completely rebuilt them into straight trolleybuses in 2004-2006. They are essentially brand new vehicles, with new propulsion systems, new interiors, new headsigns, new body panels. At the same time, TriMet is completely rebuilding its 25 year old Type I (100 series) fleet in the same manner.

TriMet could choose to rebuild its buses but they don't even do that - they skimp on bus maintenance (because it's considered an "operating expense") while gold-plating light rail (because it's considered a "capital expense") - in other words, it can take light rail maintenance, turn it into a system cost, and make bus riders pay for it. But when the bus system needs maintenance, it complains about the cost of bus service and jacks up fares. At the end of the day, both systems require maintenance, but which riders get screwed?

Electricity might be cheaper than gas, right now. Just wait until feed-in tariffs are legalized, and utilities will be required to buy electricity from feed-in users at 20, 25 cents per kwh (we normally pay the power companies less than 10 cents a kwh, so how are they going to charge the same rates when they are being forced to buy power at five or six times what they pay now to buy the power at wholesale?)

And as for buses always being more expensive...it should be noted that TriMet's most profitable/least subsidized service is...get this...a bus route (line 72 Killingsworth/82nd Avenue). A bus that runs full makes TriMet money. A LRT that runs full makes TriMet money, too. The problem is TriMet strips service from successful bus lines and discourages ridership; while running a lot of really stupid bus routes whose sole purpose is to connect with MAX. Those MAX feeder bus lines never come close to running full, and as a result cost a lot to run. In this way, TriMet can then complain how expensive the buses are to run, when in fact the buses could be made to run more efficiently.

It doesn't help that TriMet has disinvested in the bus system which causes more maintenance cost, more overtime for late trips, increased rider dissatisfaction (which translates to lower farebox revenue), and overall negative bus service publicity (countless bus service cutbacks - why would anyone want to start riding the bus now, if their bus might be cut in a few months? Would you do business with someone and count on them knowing that in six months they won't be around?) Meanwhile, when MAX has a hiccup, Fred Hansen and his team of TriMet firefighters show up and write countless blank checks to make whatever problem go away - that's why TriMet spent a lot of money on Transit Police (including a police station at Clackamas Town Center), the new safety measures at Baseline Road where it crosses MAX near the Elmonica MAX station, and kept Fareless Square for MAX and Streetcar riders, even though the problems that triggered the review of Fareless Square were squarely MAX related problems (namely, drug dealing and other crimes at the Lloyd Center MAX station and at the Galleria/Library stations, and subsequent fare evasion by those same folks who jump on the trains.)


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In Vino Veritas

Chloe, Pinot Grigio, Valdadige 2013
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir 2013
Kirkland, Pinot Grigio, Friuli 2013
St. Francis, Red Splash 2011
Rodney Strong, Canernet, Alexander Valley 2011
Erath, Pinot Blanc 2013
Taylor Fladgate, Porto 2007
Portuga, Rose 2013
Domaine Digioia-Royer, Chambolle-Musigny, Vielles Vignes Les Premieres 2008
Locations, F Red Blend
El Perro Verde, Rueda 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red 2
If You See Kay, Red 2011
Turnbull, Old Bull Red 2010
Cherry Tart, Cherry Pie Pinot Noir 2012
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Cabernet, Oakville 2012
Benton Lane, Pinot Gris 2012
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Reserva 2008
Haden Fig, Pinot Noir 2012
Pendulum Red 2011
Vina Real, Plata, Crianza Rioja 2009
Edmunds St. John, Bone/Jolly, Gamay Noir Rose 2013
Bookwalter, Subplot No. 26
Ayna, Tempranillo 2011
Pete's Mountain, Pinot Noir, Haley's Block 2010
Apaltagua, Reserva Camenere 2012
Lugana, San Benedetto 2012
Argyle Brut 2007
Wildewood Pinot Gris 2012
Anciano, Tempranillo Reserva 2007
Santa Rita, Reserva Cabernet 2009
Casone, Toscana 2008
Fonseca Porto, Bin No. 27
Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
Trader Joe's, Grower's Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2012
Vintjs, Cabernet 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White 2012
Rainstorm, Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Silver Palm, North Coast Cabernet 2011
Andrew Rich, Gewurtztraminer 2008
Rodney Strong, Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Canoe Ridge, Pinot Gris, Expedition 2012
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose 2012
Dark Horse, Big Red Blend No. 01A
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Rose 2012
Fletcher, Shiraz 2010
Picollo, Gavi 2011
Domaine Eugene Carrel, Jongieux 2012
Eyrie, Pinot Blanc 2010
Atticus, Pinot Noir 2010
Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
Coppola, Sofia Rose 2012
Joel Gott, 851 Cabernet 2010
Pol Roget Reserve Sparkling Wine
Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
Rombauer Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2011
Beringer, Chardonnay, Napa Reserve 2011
Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Schloss Vollrads, Spaetlese Rheingau 2010
Belle Glos, Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone 2010
WillaKenzie, Pinot Noir, Estate Cuvee 2010
Blackbird Vineyards, Arise, Red 2010
Chauteau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005
Northstar, Merlot 2008
Feather, Cabernet 2007
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Alexander Valley 2002
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2002
Trader Joe's, Chardonnay, Grower's Reserve 2012
Silver Palm, Cabernet, North Coast 2010
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone 2009
Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio 2011
Alamos, Cabernet 2011
Cousino Macul, Cabernet, Anitguas Reservas 2009
Dreaming Tree Cabernet 2010
1967, Toscana 2009
Charamba, Douro 2008
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend

The Occasional Book

Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 349
At this date last year: 214
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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