November 3, 2006
RTP Exercise - Challenges - Free Market
What are some of the challenges to achieving these outcomes:
- Organizational Leadership is increased for business and related transit oriented development.
- Overall subsidization of the transit systems (including roadways) decreases by at least 50% at the state levels and users provide more representative costs.
- Companies locate downtown in greater number.
- Sprawl is minimalized and density is increased around transit oriented developments.
- Transportation costs begin to reflect true usage that create a decrease in vehicular person trips (auto & transit oriented) in the region.
- More liberty and individual rights are considered in transportation planning with minimal usage of Emminent Domain, preferrably Emminent Domain is NOT used at all while existing right of ways are utilized better and highway mileage is mixed with light rail (ala I-205 expansion).
- DMV & Operational Licensing of Motor Vehicles increases efficiency, providing better market statistics and relevancy, quicker consumer response to demand, decreased complaints and eliminating all associated tax burdens while focusing costs on users.
- Primary thoroughfares are allowed collection of electronic tolls, shadow tolls, and other funding sources to alleviate taxpayers of cost without use.
- A quicker response time and standardized approaches to accident removal/clearing from primary thoroughfares and light rail.
- Public/Mass Transit provides real services based on increasing transportation speed via express sevices on light rail, valid commuter rail options, and other faster commute options.
- Increase available rail options that provide more comfortable and commuter related services.
- Increased reliability during cold weather seasons and increase reliability in general to a significantly higher level than what automobile users receive.
Again, the question for this phase: What are some challenges to achieving the outcomes?
November 3, 2006 8:24 AM
Many on this blog will disagree since every solution seems to be rooted in Government force, manipulation or as quated in another challenge, "The greatest challenge is forcing the rebalancing".
Freedom dictates market, supply and demand dictates usage. When neither are left alone and always manipulated you will always have a fight, and uphill fight that can never be won.
...and therein lies the greatest problem of all for Portland. To reduce and somehow eliminate the "Force", "Manipulation", and "Control" paradigms that a small minority (Government and the manipulated) want in place. I use transit because I want to. But many in the transit community just as well force people out of cars by every means necessary and onto some public transit mechanism. This is all fine and dandy, but it won't work, and will cause vastly more destruction and problems than can be solved by a decision by committee.
November 3, 2006 8:27 AM
Chris Smith Says:
Adron, I could argue the flip side, which is that many folks are maintained in their auto-centric lifestyle by large government subsidies to provide cheap energy (including the half trillion dollar estimated cost of the war in Iraq).
Isn't the challanging part removing these subsidies?
November 3, 2006 11:11 AM
Subsidies are inherently a part of "forcing" and "control" of peoples. Idealogically and literally speaking subsidies are a direct and immediate manipulator. I just stated as a high level view of what I see as being one of the largest challenges to overcome.
It doesn't matter if roads, rail, light rail, planes, or whatever get funded, the subsidized funding then leads preference to one or the other because it displaces a realistic price based on the supply and demand of the services.
November 3, 2006 11:13 AM
-> As far as the Iraq war... ever think of what could be done with that money if back in the economic domain in an unsubsidized transportation market that actually has competition of methods, vehicles, and right of ways? (ala circo 1850-1930)
Europe would look like a joke at that point.
November 3, 2006 6:25 PM
Ron Swaren Says:
While I, on many points, would side with Adron I could also recognize that whatever market we have now, (theoretically "free") does leave a great number of people needing bailouts. It's an uneasy balance. A poor person doesn't have the capital or contacts to establish a typical business, even if he or she has the skill, therefore is reduced to low wage earning. The businesses want workers but either cannot afford or will not pay high wages. So then those workers are faced with choices of where to spend: buy a car or don't, buy heating oil or get sick, etc. Since every industrial area (city) faced this challenge we eventually arrived at ways to get such people to their work: mass transit. If the efforts to do this privately (like Rose City Transit) fail, then everyone ( except the theorists) expects "government" to do it.
I would say that the desire for upward mobility is complicated and fueled by the university system. In early industrial times it was sufficient to be a hard worker. We produced a lot, and since we produced a lot, by specialized vocations, we could easily dominate world trade. And even if workers in the city were not as prosperous as their country cousins they were part of a fascinating community with lots of social contacts. I think this formula made America successful. But universities (rapidly growing after WWII) hold out the tantalizing prospect that we won't have to do physical or dangerous work if we get an education AND that the economy has plenty of "jobs" available for educated people. This is a great fiction. And many baby-boomers found this out when they graduated with doctoral degrees and had to rely on lowly jobs. The universities, IMHO, have become vested interests like every other institution.
But the problem with government programs, especially since we have an educational system as a vested interest, is that they find a reason to expand and to utilize the work of university trained specialists who are not producing anything of enduring, concrete value--just a way for people to get around, including to more university training. I think this is where the private enterprise theorists need to be listened to. A government connected program can turn into a vested interest --going way beyond the general public interest-- and easily start finding reasons why their particular program should continue or expand. It can hire experts who think so. It can influence public opinion. It can teach kids its point of view. And I think, in the more egregious instances of pork barrel spending, we can see such programs going out of control.
But does "pricing" ( as a pure libertarian theorist believes) really produce a just equilibrium? I suppose one could suggest that if XYZ Corp. has workers who can't afford cars XYZ could provide their own transportation service.
But what if XYZ and ABC Corp. and their colleagues get together and say "The citizens should commonly provide a system (because we don't want the cost shifted to us)." That would be public transit, then. I mean, after all, who really did call the shots in the industrialization of America? Private interests have always had a very strong hand in government policy.
So to "price" or to "subsidize?" Were it so simple that decisions were reduced to strictly monetary costs. I think a better tact for free market theorists (and our Oregon libertarian crowd) would be to make the public aware of just how much some programs are subsidized--this done with careful analysis, examining ALL costs and benefits, including the quality of life ones. Sure, some could say that our congressional delegation has enough power to garner pork spending. But, what goes around , comes around. This country needs well- crafted, long run solutions that both adequately meet the needs and do not become institutions in themselves. Becoming a watchdog on ridiculous subsidization in this country would be a practical objective.
I don't if developing a pure price-based model is, but there is lot to be said for restraining out of control governments..
November 7, 2006 6:14 PM
Terry Parker Says:
A “Subsidies are inherently a part of "forcing" and "control" of peoples. Ideologically and literally speaking subsidies are a direct and immediate manipulator. I just stated as a high level view of what I see as being one of the largest challenges to overcome.”
B On the flip side, over taxing or the absence of taxes is used in the same manner to manipulate people and in act social engineering. The absence of taxes can also be considered a subsidy. Therefore from a transportation standpoint, a couple of the challenges are:
Initiate a tax on the bicycle mode of transport thereby making bicycle infrastructure financially self-sustainable paid for by users.
Charge transit fares that better reflect the costs of service instead of just the covering 20% of operational costs.
November 7, 2006 7:53 PM
The absense of taxes acting as a subsidy is illogical.
Except in a heavily taxed situation where growth and markets are already heavily suppressed. Either case the absense of a tax acting as a subsidy is a perversion of logic.
But as things are, it's hard to stand by one definition of the world in today's world of "1984" double speak.
But yes, it is very challenging with the manipulations and distortions of pricing and other market relevant conditions to make users pay for use.
Either way, it all is rooted in social engineering and manipulation from either perspective. I for one find it wrong to attempt to manipulate people, even if it is for a theoretical good. I mean really, at one point in the time the massive conversion of transportation to auto based use was considered "the way of the future". The future is now stuck for about 20 minutes to an hour in traffic every day burning off all those minutes of our lives.
...One has to be careful of those unintended consequences.
November 7, 2006 9:17 PM
Ron Swaren Says:
Since I consider myself neither a tax-and-spend liberal, nor a capitalist apologist, I would, if I was better prepared, ask the libertarians some hard questions. Guess I better find some, since this is a philosophy that seems to resonate with many Oregonians.
But, for starters in the meantime:
1. How would a libertarian determine who own something, like land, in the first place? Does a person pass through miles and miles of uninhabited land and say "this is mine and any government determination otherwise is a fiction."? Does the person with the most deadly weapons own the land he or she wants? What if two people do the above survey, at the same time. How do they settle their dispute, w/o a governmentl system of jurisprudence.
Land was claimed, by Renaissance explorers, for the Crown, bestowed by same and only altered to different owners by armed, organized revolution that formed a new government.
2. What if there is a generally perceived need: for a highway, for a breakwater, for a port, etc., yet no one wants to spend any time or money for it? Do Libertarians even acknowledge the validity of a "common enterprise?"
3. How could you have "pricing" if you didn't have government. It seems that the only means of exchange left would be barter. A curency provides a temporary mechanism for exchanges that would otherwise have to be immediately bartered.
4. Have Libertarians ever gotten together and promoted a manifesto of their beliefs, or would such a thing be a contradiction in terms?
My own personal observation, from Oregon history:
A lot of Southerners left the South after their defeat and a many of them ended up in Oregon and became Libertarians. Is that not true?
November 8, 2006 4:08 PM
Terry Parker Says:
A “The absence of taxes acting as a subsidy is illogical.”
B The absence of taxes on the bicycle mode of transport to pay for exclusive and specialized bicycle infrastructure exemplifies a subsidy to bicyclists. Property tax abatements for high density and TOD development exemplifies a subsidy to the developers and owners of such properties. Therefore it must be agreed not taxing the bicycle mode of transport and the City' property tax abatement are both illogical.