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Monday, September 27, 2010

We are the Death with Dignity State, aren't we?

Please, Lord, put this one out of our misery.

Comments (7)

Jack, I think Dudley may win, and he'll do his best to kill it.

Can't you just sense the tension at TriMet as they try to reach the "we've gone too far and we can't stop now" moment?

Some lightrail-right-to-lifer will be picketing outside of some car dealership somewhere if this sucker dies the death it deserves.

What't not to like about

On the local match financing:

TriMet is beginning to spend what will be $400 million from lottery profits on the nearly $2 billion Milwaukie Light Rail.

Besides the $400 million to pay off the $250 million lottery backed bonds,

$55 million will come from Portland basic services to pay off their 30 million bonded share.

$70 million will come form TriMet's own future operating revenue to pay off their $40 million share. .

$200 million will will be drained form Metro's future transportation funding distribution.

$42 will be taken from Clackamas County basic services budgets to pay off their $25 million bonded share. .

$9 million will come from Milwaukie budgets to pay their bonded $5 million share.
And there's the $750 million fed share, all borrowed and adding to the national debt.

Other than that,,,,, well there's more.

Crime, and Urban Renewal Schemes come along with it devouring 100s of millions more.

Ben - good work identifying their financing linchpins.

Can we figure out a way to pull some of them out before the train leaves the station?

Of course, the best thing would be to kill the project, but knowing Portland, Metro and TriMet - if it's a rail project, it has to happen or the world will collapse on itself. So here's my list (cross-posted from oregonlive.com) of suggested cuts:

Here's some suggestions:

1. Eliminate ALL Park & Ride facilities. There will be one north of Milwaukie that is open today and it will be the sole such facility. (And make users pay to park - $8/day.)

2. Eliminate ALL art. Buses don't have art, light rail doesn't need art. Art doesn't provide transportation.

3. Stop the route in downtown Milwaukie, not Park Avenue. That stop is unnecessary and doesn't even fit the purpose of MAX and transit-oriented development.

4. Purchase used light rail vehicles instead of new. We get by with 20 year old buses; there are agencies within North America that are willing to get rid of older, but very servicable vehicles. TriMet can buy used. They don't need air conditioning retrofitted if they don't have them (half of TriMet's buses don't have A/C.)

5. All stations shall be minimalistic - bare concrete pads, basic area lighting using non-decorative poles. Stations shall be retrofitted for bus stop style shelters when ridership warrants but not up front. Only basic, bus-stop style signs to be installed for wayfinding; schedule kiosks will not be installed (after all we're all trained that MAX is every 15 minutes, do we need a schedule sign?)

6. No landscaping. Period. Why pay for trees, sprinkler systems, etc. that require constant maintenance but doesn't do a single thing to provide transportation?

7. Eliminate the Caruthers Crossing and use the Hawthorne Bridge. It was rebuilt a decade ago with the intent for light rail, so why not RECYCLE an existing bridge? Portland can be the first city to ban cars from an existing bridge and convert it to transit/pedestrian/bicycle only. (Or the Hawthorne can allow cars but only during non-peak hours.) MAX can then be routed along Water Avenue serving OMSI's front door rather than the back door, pass underneath the new MLK Viaduct and continue on its way.

8. South of OMSI, the line should be single-track with passing sidings at stations. All stations will be "island" type so that only one platform needs to be constructed instead of two platforms.

9. Milwaukie terminus will have just two tracks, not three tracks.

10. Eliminate the Bybee station (as it would be located in a bad location anyways and require access from the bridge; plus it is a security liability.)

11. Sell advertising space at stations. Ever look at a European train or streetcar station? They are full of large display ads.

12. Require that once the line is open, that it be contracted out to a third party for operations.

13. Absolutely no "grand opening" party or festivities. No ribbon cutting, no gala, no event. When it's opening day, it's just another operation day.

Short of the Lord, Jack, who is going to step up and end the misery? The choo-choo is already gaining speed down the tracks. Dudley's hinted at quashing it, but I don't perceive any ground swell of opposition outside this site. How can we amplify the concern, and enlist all opponents to elevate the issue, and aggressively/legally demand it be stopped? What are the legal steps that could be taken?

Just curious.

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