Mafioso

Yesterday’s Willamette Week identified my as part of the local transportation mafia. So be it. I’ll be happy to take some small credit for the wonderful alternative transportation options we have here in the region.

But it went on to paint the following picture:

  • Local transit industry makes contributions to Earl Blumenaur’s PAC
  • Earl’s PAC makes contributions to members of Transportation Committee
  • Transportation Committee earmarks funds for Portland
  • Local industry gets rich on Federal Funds

If that were true, why would I playing? I must be monumentally stupid, since I’m not getting any money out of this!

The above analysis breaks down on a couple of points:

  1. The transportation committee does not pass judgment directly on much of the funding that Portland gets.
  2. The funding Portland gets is generally in competitive programs, and we have to get our projects scored. The people who do the scoring work for George Bush.

So let me paint an alternate picture:

  • Earl promotes sound national policy on transportation
  • We support Earl and his PAC because we believe in sound transportation policy
  • Portland designs projects that fit well with the Federal programs (because we’ve gotten good at this, and because our policy values are in alignment with the sound policy)
  • We use the funding to build good projects that have great value to the community, and yes, some of us make our livings doing that (but I’m not one of them, I’m in it for the value to the community).

Guilty, guilty, guilty. And proud of it.

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