Saturday, September 25, 2010

Opinion: Facts about TriMets Bond Measure - Say No!

TriMet has decided to send a Bond measure to voters to help buy new buses. Despite being mentioned in a few places by a fairly vocal bus rider, TriMet could apply for funds for new buses just like they do Light Rail. But, shortly after TriMet announces they are short on the Light Rail project no one wants, this bond measure magically appears.

TriMet had targeted this measure to "Help improve service for those with disabilities and the elderly". This is like the qualifications to get on Home Makeover, you win over the producers of the show by giving your story, and they pick the one mostly likely to "Touch Home". Thats exactly what TriMet is doing here. You would think that is this group of people is what TriMet is interested in serving, then they would stop cutting bus service! You would see more Rail cuts, but TriMets rail agenda won't allow that.

TriMet keeps telling us the economic downturn has delayed bus purchases, meanwhile the same place the MAX money comes from seems to remain untapped for bus purchases. TriMet says "We can not use those funds for operations". We get that! But why are you building a new Light Rail line, which when open will come out of the already cash strapped operations fund? This is what the public means by "STOP BUILDING LIGHT RAIL". Sure you got the money to build it, but you do not have the money to operate it, unless you continue on the unpopular path of slashing more bus service.

TriMet has only mismanaged money from the start, otherwise they have more newer buses already. They would make it a priority. Rail is priority, because they spent so much money buying it, now they have to run it. So why not spend so much money buying buses, Hybrids, Artics, state of the art, and run them with the same logic as light rail!!

"Why do this now" they ask...the elderly population is growing, we are all growing, Fred Hansen grew old, its what happens, why are we taking a bond measure to projected elderly population, when there is already an elderly population crying out at the cuts TriMet is making to where they already live. More of them depend on buses then rail, and if that was a true TriMet priority, they would have answered to that long ago.

Personally, I think this is an embarrassment to the agency, this only brings to the forefront how poorly management and the board of directors have run the place, approved cuts and spending with asking questions, finding more information to make an INFORMED decision. Why didn't any Board members come up with this idea before the Milwaukie light rail plan was adopted? Because the public, those they serve, were not first priority.

Its time to step up, and "Say No!" to this act of desperation because they have made a big mistake. This needs to be brought to the attention of the FTA, and congress, and get the light rail money moved to buying buses and making improvements, which ARE capital projects. TriMet, you are not fooling anyone with your "It can not be used for operations" bit in regards to the light rail money, it CAN be used to buy the new buses your asking for money for, in which you plenty to do so, if not more. Do not build light rail if you can not afford to run what you have now, period, simple business economics.

There is a poll to the right to vote on your take.

Say No!


Al M said...

You make excellent points buddy, but I am still voting yes.
Hell its just self interest, I'm sure you understand.

Jason said...

Now, now, now. Aren't you supposed to be supporting transit, especially a system you occasionally (I'm assuming) use? And the past can't be changed.

You can think of it as more money for transit in general if you want. Some of the money will go to sidewalks which benefit everybody and are not just for TriMet. And do you have an alternative to it?

Do you think they should leave 100's of millions of dollars on the Federal table for some other region to get? In addition, the money to operate the line should come from an increase in the payroll taxes as well as service that the line will replace.

Also, the measure was not doable before because the Westside bonds were still being paid off.

punkrawker4783 said...

Yea, instead of asking for money to build more rail, ask for buses and improvements instead. The Rail agenda they have is why I feel this way, and much of the public. Shelve Rail, stop thinking about it, and think more new buses, better bus routes.