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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wising up

In Chicago, they're proposing a huge new investment in buses, because they're a heck of a lot cheaper than rail projects. Meanwhile, in the East Bay community of Hercules, California, the city's many pet projects are going bust -- particularly its Sten-like dabbling in the electric power business -- and the cumulative effect is a severe strain on the city's finances. People down that way are starting to ask a lot of good questions.

Comments (21)

But, but, but, but....Non-profit municipal owned utilities are ALWAYS cheaper than greedy corporations.

If you had only let Sten fulfill his grand ambitions, he wouldn't have to be flipping short sales now.

That's not entirely fair. I think 99.5% of public entities running utilities is a bad idea, but Clark County PUD seems to be doing OK.

I think when you get Randy/Sam/Sten types looking to generate profit, they fail to recognize the commensurate risk/cost and keep clutching to their rosy ideas. Then they have to keep shoveling money from other places to make it work (the "it's too late to stop now" otherwise known as the "we can't afford not to do it" syndrome.)

Unless they have monopoly power like PWB then they can just raise rates and you can do nothing - God forbid if they actually have to spend it on an EPA project.

In addition, what the heck does the average politician know about running things efficiently?

Have any outside auditors reviewed Clark County PUD lately?

Start with an alphabetical list of all employees and vendors by last name, to look for nepotism and conflicts of interest. Then interview everybody who was terminated in the last 5 years and ask them about kickbacks or nepotism.

Then run a list of all vendors who received checks below the "review level" of signing authority, and look for multiple checks in the same amount, typically within $100 of the level at which a greater level of scrutiny/signing authority is required.

Clark County PUD may be clean as the wind driven snow...But if you give me a month and subpoena powers (or give the AG's office two weeks worth of bullying), I'll bet there are some skeletons hiding in the low rate closet.

...More importantly, the proposed system would also be relatively inexpensive. Whereas light rail can often cost around $35 million a mile to build, bus rapid transit can be done for about $13 million, according to the council’s report. Still, modest as the plan is, it might not be modest enough. Currently Chicago has plans for only three fast bus lanes, with another three to come in the future — “BRT light,” as one official put it. A spokeswoman for the city’s transit authority told the Tribune the money for more lines just isn’t there:...

Too bad our "leaders" aren't wising up here.

Since the start of 2010, 71 percent of agencies have had their local funding stay flat or decrease.

Is that why Streetcar Charlie wants to be a comeback to a secure Mayor's position now?

When Chicago local government is the model for responsibility, Portland is in trouble. But we already knew that.

Kudos to Chi-town.

When I lived on SW Vista-NW 23rd back in the day (early 1990s), I'd take the 15 to work. I really liked taking the bus and it didn't cost billions of dollars to build and operate. Unfortunately, buses are not very trendy.

Cheaper is not always better. Rail systems spur development that buses so not. Higher density development offer services and goods that provide jobs and tax revenue. Both types of transportation have their value and place in cities.

Michael -

Please provide exact addresses (street number / street name) for any "new" development along a rail line in Portland, which was not subsidized by a governmental body.

Michael -

Please explain why high density development is a good thing. Explain in light of:
* It is more expensive to construct than low density.
* It increases traffic congestion by putting MANY more cars on the same streets.
* It tends to attract crime as in Rockwood.
* It Taxes existing services such as water, electric and sewer.
* Upgrading existing water and sewer is MUCH more expensive than laying new lines on vacant land.
* High density is unsuitable for raising families.

PS: Do you profit, or work for a company that profits from building high density, or a government agency.

See DebunkingPortland.com


Rail systems spur development that buses so not. Higher density development offer services and goods that provide jobs and tax revenue.

That's the streetcar gospel, but it's not credible.

..Rail systems spur development that buses so not...

Sure it does, but not the kind of development most people would want in their neighborhoods, especially out in east pdx.

Is it the rail system or the zoning and tax abatements that go along with it?

We have had enough and cannot pay for this agenda to continue. Of course streetcar Charlie wants back in to push more. We can't afford the rails and we can't afford to have Hales as Mayor.

[i]Rail systems spur development that buses so not.[i]

I can only assume you mean the development of opportunities for street crime.

Michael, you still there??

Cheaper is not always better. Rail systems spur development that buses so not. Higher density development offer services and goods that provide jobs and tax revenue. Both types of transportation have their value and place in cities.

Said the "planner". Yeah, it sure "spurred development" at Beaverton Round and Cascade Station and a ton of other places. Just look at all the jobs and tax revenues that have been "created" by rail!

Michael attends PSU.

Michael, we're all still waiting for the jobs and tax revenue from high density SoWhat. Here you have a trolley line, a tram, and hopefully a stopped lightrail line and not one of the promised 10,000 biotech jobs. And the tax revenue of ten years ago is the same as before ($12 Million), except now most of it is put into the TIF bucket at the expense of schools, fire, police and parks. Sorry, your propaganda has been proven false.

Did light rail spur the Round?
How about Cascade station?
Gresham station?

Did the Tram and streetcar spur SoWa?

We have rail all over.
What was spurred by light rail?
Nothing that's what.

It only spurred spending millions of tax dollars on boondoggle development that was supposed to be spurred by the rail transit.

What the heck are yo doing making these ridiculous claims.

Why not go all out and claim our rail lines have spurred $8 billion in development.

That's what TriMet and Metro claim.

Light rail spurs meth/cocaine/heroin users moving around quickly, usually without paying the fare. Other than that, I don't see much business development spurred by MAX.

Michael: Have you ever visited the Rockwood neighborhood in Gresham in the past 10 years? It's the highest crime area in the City of Gresham. It WAS a nice, quiet lower middle class neighborhood BEFORE Light Rail got there. Almost as soon as light rail was built in the area; thefts, burglaries and drug dealing started to happen. Home values in the neighborhood have plunged deeply since light rail arrived; with many now being used as Section 8 rentals.

I think Michael has take the train out JackBogsBlog Land.

Rail systems spur development that buses so not

If this statement were true...IF...

All tax incentives for any transit oriented development around light rail/streetcar/commuter rail (here's looking at you, WES) shall be immediately rescinded back to the date the incentive was created. That means taxes assessed retroactively, and due November 1st, 2011 in full.

Meanwhile, all transit-oriented tax incentives shall be restricted ONLY to those near bus lines, since TriMet's bus ridership has been in decline for many years (net bus ridership today is lower than it was eight years ago.) That means if a transit-oriented project is within one mile of a rail line, it cannot receive the incentive; but if the only transit within one mile is a bus line, it can obtain the tax incentive.

Now we'll see how well rail promotes development that buses don't.....

Michael, you out there? You going to agree?

It WAS a nice, quiet lower middle class neighborhood BEFORE Light Rail got there.

I know people who live in East Portland, some did move out of Rockwood.

Yes, it was nice before light rail and
BEFORE being annexed into the city and
BEFORE Katz and Hales agenda of rezoning areas that allowed way too much density and infill, the many flag lots. Then that ghetto style housing which is upsetting to the people who live in the surrounding neighborhood.

Can't be too pleasant for the people who live in them either, especially on a hot night like tonight with no cross ventilation and not even a deck of any sort to sit outside.

Hey Clinamen, last time I looked Rockwood was annexed by Gresham, not Portland.

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