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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 13, 2012 3:00 PM. The previous post in this blog was Two more guys busted in Ashley's alleged hit-and-run-and-run. The next post in this blog is Obscenity of the Day. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tri-Met enters death spiral

After an acrimonious meeting of whoever's-on-its-board-of-directors-this-month, Tri-Met looks like a goner for sure. Old Bruce Warner may be riding another one into the ground.

Comments (23)

At this point the sooner the better. Anybody for a mercy killing?

Joseph Rose and the "O"pinionated (O) got it wrong again. Not everybody specifically testified against the proposals. Some people just don't listen very well, likely only hearing the rants of those mostly fron the younger generation who expect the government using taxpayer funding to pay for their personal transportation costs.

Are there any instances of non-government-run transit services in the country? We do need some sort of public transit in the area.

On the plus side, John Charles will be nursing a semi today.

"Are there any instances of non-government-run transit services in the country? We do need some sort of public transit in the area."

Greyhound
Jitneys in many cities, often illegally

Thanks
JK

Hopefully we don't throw out the baby with the sewage pond.

We need public transportation, just not a real estate enterprise at the same time.

Trimet: The pension/health plan formally known to operate buses

Luckily in Oregon no one ever gets punished for incompetence or corruption, so carry on Trimet board!

Yeah TriMet approved their budget.
But first they approved $110 million in bonds for various transit related uses. PMLR was big chunk of it.

http://trimet.org/pdfs/publications/fy13-approved-budget.pdf
2012-2013 Debt service is $35 million

After critics pointed out TriMet can't afford more debt service because the coming small hikes in payroll taxes are insufficient to cover TriMet's long list of needs, TriMet's CFO Beth de Hamel trotted up to the mic and rolled out TriMet policy of a 7.5% debt ratio limit pretending it demonstrates some sort of fiscal prudence,, because it could be higher?

All the remarks by de Hamel and the board members could not have been more offensive. Their discussion leading up to approval of the bonding was identical to every previous episode of the TriMet board's insane rubber stamping. Going back many years. They even talked about how they are NOW ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work on a plan to fix their finances. But as usual only after approving this new round of insanity. "Then we'll get right on it"

Prosser said he and Schwietzer will be crunching the numbers.
Warner and Clark were oblivious and repugnant. Blathering on about the good business sense in these new bonds. Warner lectured how this round of bonding was more than about light rail to Clackamas County. What a complete jerk and and horrible listener.
It had just been specifically detailed to him how it was about a wide range of detriment including for TriMet itself.

TriMet's BS will flow until the day they collapse.

Their debt ratio is really far greater than 7.5%.
TriMet's (off books) $1.2 billion unfunded liability is equivalent to debt but without debt servicing because they are not paying anything towards it. Everyone understands that liability is long term. That doesn't diminish it's equivalency to debt, meaning and impact on TriMet's operations. Independent auditor Moss-Adams' last calculation was that TriMet would have to be putting aside at least $75 million per year to cover the liability and prevent it from growing. But TriMet is setting aside next to nothing towards it.
That makes it equivalent to un-paid debt and pushes the debt ratio to exceed 23%.

I am surprised you didn't note Tiffany. She has a resume to die for, as well as being Homer's stepdaughter. Talk about letting the fox in the henhouse.

I believe Tiffany is now the most senior person on the board. God help us.

Well, some of us Yankees now know what the South felt like when the carpetbaggers came in and picked the bones clean.

TriMet's been on a death spiral for awhile now. They simply don't seem to care about actually providing transit--instead, they're hellbent on spending themselves into oblivion in pursuit of the MAX "Golden Calf" Line to Milwaukie, and other schizoid rail plans, at whatever cost. Between the uprising of the "Light Rail Revolt" in Clackamas County (and starting in Washington County), and TriMet's general ineptitude, I think it's not a matter of if, but when.

The next 5 years are going to be a very interesting period in Portland-area (and statewide) transportation politics.

Time to fire the board, fire the GM, fire every manager, suspend the collective bargaining law, fire the arbitrator, fire the Employment Relations Board, fire the Governor for appointing the idiots to the Board and for supporting the Employment Relations Board, dismantle Tri-Met, cancel the outragious labor contract with the ATU, fire the incompetent drivers, keep the many good ones who want to stay under the new rules, and start over by prudently rebuilding a public transit entity that serves the public interest.

It will take a disaster for all that to happen. But it sure seems to be on its way.

Wow. Just wow.

When I showed up in Portland in 2001, the bus system and the three light rail lines were the toast of the country. They served the public pretty darn well. Fareless Square and frequency were the key.

But now? Nobody's getting any benefit from it other than the crooks.

Amazing how far it has fallen in 11 years.

I thought you guys would be excited that the 'free ride' at taxpayers expense was over.

Guess you don't know "us guys" very well. Mark, if you ever find yourself capable of saying that anything the crazies in government around here are doing is wrong, please let us know. It will be breaking news.

I love how they assume that the elimination of the fareless square will raise a bunch of revenues. I can't remember which misguided Oregon Health Plan program it was that was going to be funded by new cigarette taxes and it needed something like 200,000 new smokers for the math to work out, but in a three year period they brought in something like 15% of the revenues they were counting on and were forced to divert general fund money (aka Lottery dollars) to cover the shortfall. (not to mention the money the state spends at the same time to STOP people from smoking, but that's another story).

I have a feeling that rather than all those free-riders paying money, they're going to find that people will just not ride anymore. Has there ever been a revenue projection for a government project that actually panned out?

There is nothing TriMet can do but kick the can down the road in increasingly shorter lengths with ever increasing costs to do so.

Thus the $110 million in bond sales yesterday that Rose and O never even reported.

TriMet management is doing the only logical thing. Selling bonds to finance their bonuses. They know the place is going bankrupt but that doesn't mean that they can't get their money out first. That is the perk you get when running the place. Even if you run it into the ground you can still pay yourself first.

Jack, as someone who once opined about the vitriol in your comments sections you are quick to make it personal.

Mark Mason, I would bet that you weren't even at the TriMet board meeting, based on your comments.

The meeting was much more than about ending fareless square. Include the $111 Million bond sales, TriMet's budget, ending many bus services, some board members trying to respond to the financial realities, including the demise of urban renewal funds that is the largest seed monies for TriMet's development agenda....the list goes on.

You should know how the media around here shortchanges the real stories.

Mark, no personal offense was intended. I'm just pointing out that no matter how absurd or harmful the bureaucrats' actions are, you are the last one to actually call them out on it. The whole "keep an open mind" thing gets old after about the 1,000th outrage.


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