Think Harder

Ron Buel had a very nice op-ed in yesterday’s Trib suggesting we go even further than some of the ideas in the Trib’s special issue on transportation.

One response to “Think Harder”

  1. After reading Ron Buel’s opinion piece in the Trib, he too left much of the discussion out,

    Here are several examples;

    He suggests more compact development and asks about global warming, but if you were to look at the heat generated by residential development region wide, the most heat is generated is coming from the highest density neighborhoods that are often taxpayer subsidized.

    He suggested building more housing where the jobs are in the central city and in transit oriented development, but failed to mention the majority of housing built in these locations is built with some form of tax payer subsidy. He also failed to mention the biggest employer in the central city is the government.

    He also suggested there is a need to get people out of the single passenger vehicles moving them onto transit and bicycles, but failed to mention that transit operations are taxpayer subsidized in the 80% range and bicycle infrastructure is paid for 100% from sources other than taxes on bicycling mode of transport.

    He suggests that freeways are not cost effective, but motorist paid taxes pay for a greater share of motor vehicle infrastructure than do alternative modes for their specialized and specific infrastructure. Motorist paid taxes also subsidize both transit and bicycle infrastructure and therefore if motorists did not pay the majority of their own way, this subsidy could not be siphoned off. Furthermore, each of the current subsidized Max lines in Portland carry less people in a day than one full service freeway lane does in a day.

    The biggest part and most controversial part left out of Ron’s “opinion” piece was how and who is going to pay for all this. If what he suggests were to become a reality; for any plan like this to be economically feasible, the taxpayer subsidies must disappear or the government would be taking in upwards of 75% of what a person earned to pay for this socialization. Without a local subsidy, transit fares would go up rise to around $10.00 a ride in today’s dollars and bicyclists would be required to pay for the roads. Furthermore, the cost of groceries and most other goods would be priced much higher do to increased road taxes on the trucking industry. The region also must be prepared for massive unemployment since one in about every 8 to 10 jobs is tied to the auto industry. In other words, less freedom will cost everybody more, our standard of living will be reduced and the tourist industry, much of it other than the big business part might just go broke.

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