Portland is a PR machine for light rail & streetcar
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“It must always be remembered how cost-effectiveness works in the public sector: the cost IS the benefit.” - author unknown
Trimet Sacrifices New Buses to Get Money For Light Rail
From: "John Charles" <email@example.com>
Subject: TM throws bus funding under the bus
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 14:46:43 -0800
If ever there was any doubt about the 2nd-tier status of bus service at TM, it is erased in the memo
linked below, which is a background paper for next week’s Oregon Transportation Commission meeting
on Wednesday. TM is seeking $13 million in ODOT Flex Funds to help fill the last hole in local funding
for the Milwaukie LR project. The ODOT staff is recommending the money, which will come from a
number of sources, including ODOT’s Capital Bus Program. Under this proposal, “TriMet would
receive approximately $13 million, and would agree to refrain from requesting Capital Bus
Program funds for bus purchases for the next three biennia…” (page 2 of memo).
Just two days ago I attended the TM board meeting where the CFO made a budget presentation; she
said TM has “one of the oldest bus fleets in the nation”; 161 buses (26% of fleet) are 18 years or older;
TriMet’s average fleet age is 12 years, while the national average among the largest 100 transit
agencies is 7.4.
And of course, TM went to the voters last fall asking for $125 million for bus capital projects.
Yet TM is quite willing to give up any ODOT bus capital grants for the next 6 years so they can feed the
light rail beast.
I will be at the meeting next week arguing that the Oregon Transportation Commission should reject this
request. I don’t expect to win, but do hope to shine light on TriMet’s hypocrisy.
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