November 6, 2006
RTP Exercise - Solutions - Free Market
In the final question for our Free Market scenario, what are some of the solutions to achieve 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.
The question for this phase: What are some solutions to achieving the outcomes?
November 6, 2006 9:50 AM
Paul Edgar Says:
The whole agenda of this RTP exercise as laid out in these questions is wrong minded and organized to bring about statements and solutions that may have little or NO benefit in solving our most significant transportation problems.
The transit option is important, as is Land Use Policies that create more opportunities for greater densities but when our roads and highways needs are not and have not been addressed and long term congestion projection show our inter-city freeways with 14-hours of backups that will extend 5 and 6-miles, we must get our priorities right.
When I think of "Free Market Solutions", I am thinking about "Public/Private Partnerships" where the free market identifies solutions that would not otherwise get addressed by government.
Government, with its agenda has not prioritized our roads and highways it tends to look for social engineering soultions that are counter the our western culture.
I know that there are a lot of nevo-Oregonians that would like us to look like and live like the people of the east coast, but this is the west and we like our cars, our freedom and a quality of life that is not living in a condo tower.
The majority of us are from the west or came here to embrace the life style of the west, not the eastern life style, we want balance that includes 80% of the investments into new transportation infrastructure to be representative to what we consider as most important.
I find as reprehensible that our leaders and transportation planners have allowed the problems of the I-5 corridor to get to a place where congestion and its resultant high level of vehicle emmissions are a major reason that we have the 3rd worse air quality problems in the nation in this area and that there is nothing listed in the STIP process to initiate any fix to this problem that is killing our people and our businesses.
The CRC Project to replace the Interstate Bridges or extending Light Rail into Vancouver is not going to solve this problem, it is to systemic to a total lack of providing adequate capacity meet demand with our major roads and highways.
The Cascade Policy Institute in a report that is being prepared to be presented shortly, will identify that Light Rail ridership demand is falling in the Portland area but the big question is why?
Some believe that businesses are moving out of Portland to get closer to the young families that are leaving the city as fast as they can.
November 6, 2006 10:04 AM
Chris Smith Says:
The point of the exercise is to develop a vision of the desired state of the transportation system described as a set of outcomes, then work back to a set of policies that will get us to those outcomes.
If you'd like to develop your own vision as a set of outcomes (NOT policies), I'd be happy to post it for other folks to react to.
November 6, 2006 10:21 AM
Paul Edgar Says:
Chris, well I want all primary roads, arterials, highways and freeways to meet Level of Service conditions of "C" in 20-years from now or when any new project is completed.
I want balanced transportation infrastructure investment where all regional transit and road/highway transportation investment dollars are balanced to demand, usage and return on investment.
November 6, 2006 10:34 AM
Chris Smith Says:
You want LOS C 7x24, or just off-peak?
Where does cost fit in your vision? Environmental impacts?
November 6, 2006 12:00 PM
Paul Edgar Says:
Chris, currently inadequate capacity in our major arterials, roads, highways and freeways in the ever expanding rush hours are pushing out congestion to greater then 2-hours in the AM and PM peak periods.
The forcasts now reflect that we will have in inter-city Portland LOS "F" conditions within the I-5 and I-405 corridors for approximately 12 to 14-hours per day with 5 to 6-miles of backups in the next 20-years and NO solution or fix identified and/or listed in on the list of STIP priority transportation project in our region.
That has to change! So what ever it takes to identify the hours that it takes to acheive LOS "C" to prevent this status and condition from happening that is what I want and know that this region needs.
As to the cost of achieving this, first is greater balance in re-directing all available transportation investment funds to where we address critical needs and prioritizations on weighted values first.
If all of the Ph.D.'s at the Cascade Policy Institute are correct and they show that we have got to a point with Light Rail Investments in comparison to our recent investments into our roads and highways that the need for LRT is falling usage, in my mind we should start changing direction with our investments before we KILL all of the chickens that lays the golden eggs and that is the people and businesses in our region.
How many more people, businesses and investments do we need to see leaving Portland before someone recognizes that there are more and greater needs then just new expensive 2-bedroom high density housing/condo units.
What percentage of all of the new property tax revenue derived from all of the new transit center development is going to the general fund to support increased demand of public safety and the general welfare of the citizens of Portland. You and I both know with TIF districts where most of the investment has occured the answer is almost ZIP!
Just look at the enrollment in the Portland Public Schools and the quality of the product that is offered. A few isolated excellent situations does not take away from a failing environment where Portland as a whole seems to only want to address the needs of the extreams and special interests.
November 6, 2006 12:08 PM
I am glad you explained once again what the exercise is about. It feels to me as if we skipped a step when we went from the RTP goals (or policies) i.e. "vibrant communities" to the lists of outcomes. The step that seems missing to me is to compare the outcomes listed to the goals. This feeling that I have missed something is aggravated where cites to the source of the listed outcomes are missing.
For example, I don't know what "More liberty and individual rights are considered in transportation planning with minimal usage of Emminent Domain. . . ." is supposed to accomplish in terms of the goals or policies. It seems to me to be simply an expression of a philosophical preference without a connection to the goals that I understood were supposed to constrain the process. (I don't mean to take a whack at any particular setof outcomes, some of the "compact" scenario outcomes strike me the same way - but at least using the cites I can track them back to the overall goal or policy they supposedly implement.)
November 6, 2006 12:10 PM
Chris Smith Says:
That 'step' in the middle was supposed to be accomplished by letting different folks with different perspectives assemble a set of outcomes, then let the community participate in discussing them. Maybe that wasn't the best approach. This is an experiment :-)
November 6, 2006 4:32 PM
For me it has been a valuable experiment. It forced me to think through what some of the general goals would mean in the real world. The one goal at a time approach was useful for that.
I imagine this discussion is pretty well exhausted. Nonetheless, I would like to repeat it some time starting with the goals, developing measurable outcomes implementing those goals (ensuring there is some connection between outcomes and goals), and then talking about how those outcomes might be achieved. The last step would be where the compact development, Metro-haters, anti-government, or whatever else advocates offer different solutions.
November 7, 2006 10:37 AM
Terry Parker Says:
One of the buzz words in planning today is sustainability. From a financial stand point it should include self-sustainability, not government subsidies. Therefore I propose the following:
Each mode of transport is financially self-sustainable with taxes paid by a specific
mode of transport dedicated to paying for infrastructure ONLY for that same specific mode of transport.
As an example, funding for widening the Delta Park section of I-5 would not include bike lanes, trails along the slough and other non-motorist amenities unless the dollars came directly from taxes on the bicycle mode of transport for bicycle infrastructure, and from non-highway resources for park and walking trails.
I agree with Paul on most points including the fact transportation planners ignoring the needs of motorists until the need becomes a crisis, and that all roads should operate at level C. If sidewalks were planned in the same manner as highways are being planned, the standard would be six foot wide sidewalks. Twelve foot wide sidewalks are excessive even for peak periods in most places.
The bottom line is that a free market does not include a government subsidy for the purpose of social engineering.
November 7, 2006 2:13 PM
A market operates most efficiently when a purchaser pays the actual cost of what is being purchased. Each mode paying only for its infrastructure ignores the different externalities associated with different modes. Simply looking at cost of infrastructure will skew transportation options in favor of those that impose greater externalities than the others. That's using the "market" as camouflage not as an efficient allocative tool.
I confess I don't see how either a true "free market" or the system that you envision would accomplish the goals of the RTP.