Our project to get the candidates for Governor to respond to our questionnaire has gone nowhere. Apparently the campaigns get deluged with these things. Only the Westlund campaign was forthright enough to tell us straight up that they weren’t going to respond.
But here’s an opportunity for a little insight. At the Westside Economic Alliance debate on April 27th, the candidates (at least those in attendance) got asked about the Cost of Congestion report. Courtesy of KUIK which broadcast the debate and shared a recording with us, you can hear their answers (MP3, 2.4M, 6 minutes), which one attendee described to me as “like fish flopping around out of water…”
Here’s a brief summary with my commentary:
Ron Saxton: “We do need to add lanes.” His solution is to grow the state economy which will provide the revenue for additional investments. Does he think we’ll be investing general fund dollars from income tax into transportation? That would be innovative!
Jason Atkinson points the finger at Metro “which you didn’t elect.” I guess someone should tell Susan McLain that her last several elections were a figment of her imagination. Atkinson’s solution is to “increase bonding capacities” but he ran out of time before saying where the revenue to pay off the bonds would come from. He also supports public/private partnerships like the Newberg-Dundee bypass (aka tolling).
Ben Westlund was clear that we need “additional and creative funding mechanisms to put down more lanes, more asphalt.”
Kevin Mannix thinks the fix is an attitude change at ODOT, which should “put the roads where the communities need them.” So which roads has ODOT built recently in the wrong places?
Like Atkinson, Pete Sorenson apparently wants to shift general fund dollars into transportation, he thinks the answer is higher corporate taxes.
While of course as a 501(c)(3) Portland Transport does not endorse candidates, we might suggest that we all be very afraid…