Portland Transit Riders Union to Protest TriMet Service Cuts

A group calling themselves the Transit Riders Union has organized a protest for 5pm today at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

More information on the group here.

56 Comments

56 Responses to Portland Transit Riders Union to Protest TriMet Service Cuts

  1. jimkarlock
    May 27, 2009 at 4:32 am Link

    Funny thing – they have a link to the LA transit rider’s union which won the consent decree that halted light rail construction (which serves more upscale people) because it was draining money from the bus service to low income people.

    When LRT construction was halted, the transit system experience dramatic growth.

    BTW, I see Trimet’s cost for bus has now to $0.93 per passenger-mile, close to 4 times that of driving a car ( probably 5-6 times that of driving a cheap car.). Perhaps another indicator of transferring LRT costs to the bus system through operational changes.

    Thanks
    JK

  2. Jason McHuff
    May 27, 2009 at 7:54 am Link

    close to 4 times that of driving a car

    Are you considering ALL internal and external car costs in that calculation? Such as injuries and deaths caused by non-vigilant drivers (especially to pedestrians and others not in a car), health problems caused by air pollution, “free” parking that costs at least $1-2/hour when its available by itself, lives and communities disrupted to build freeway and other projects, people killed or at least traumatized when they go to war for oil defense…

    And if you’re talking passenger-mile, is the fact that ridership (and passenger-miles carried per bus) is affected by motorists not having to pay for the above mentioned things and subsidies like schools paid for the district as a whole that new developments get as well as school bus service that’s needed because students can’t easily walk to school?

  3. al m
    May 27, 2009 at 10:10 am Link

    Mr Karlock;

    How can you seriously advocate for the ending of mass transit?

    Really, you must get a little bit more realistic!

    These costs factors that get thrown around so much, cost per passenger/ cost per mile/ blah blah blah, are just so much nonsense.

    Trying to measure every single aspect of human behavior in terms of cost, is sick!

    How did human evolution ever lead us to this?

  4. al m
    May 27, 2009 at 10:17 am Link

    You might be interested in this article,

    What rails and roads tell us about class and power:

    http://prorev.com/2009/05/what-rails-and-roads-tell-us-about.html

  5. EngineerScotty
    May 27, 2009 at 11:17 am Link

    Interestingly enough, the upscale DC neighborhood of Georgetown, which is located near the route of one of the DC Metro lines, didn’t want a stop on the Metro because they feared the riffraff taking the subway into their neighborhood. As a result, the line in question bypassed Georgetown (taking a more direct route from Foggy Bottom into Virginia), and the neighborhood still lacks subway service.

    That said, the rich/poor divide isn’t entirely as evident on Tri-Met. If you look at the MAX lines, in particular–the first blue line goes out to Gresham (not exactly an upscale place), and passes through some of the most blighted parts of town (Rockwood, et al). The Yellow Line runs up Interstate Avenue; also not a posh area. The Green Line, under construction, runs through the heart of Felony Flats; and the planned Milwaukie line is also serving middle-class and blue-collar parts of town. Westside Max runs through a more affluent area (Washington County)–but even that isn’t in the heart of political and financial power. The Streetcar, as currently constructed, passes through upscale neighborhoods; but the planned eastside extensions to it do not. The proposed Streetcar extension to LO would benefit a wealthy area–but that area seems indifferent to the Streetcar.

    LOTS of people in town like to complain about the riffraff on MAX; many in Vancouver are opposing northard expansion of MAX for the same reason that Georgetown residents opposed the Metro–concern that hoodlums from Rockwood or wherever will come up to the ‘Couv and cause trouble. (Vancouver has no shortage of local hoodlums; and doesn’t need any from East County).

    The argument that transportation systems favor tend to favor the rich and powerful is nothing new–and certainly applies to freeway construction as well as transit systems. I’d say the Portland area has done better than many at providing transit service to poor parts of town.

    I’ve got a question for Al: Does your union take a position on rail vs busses–it seems many transit unions elsewhere in the country view rail as a threat to jobs, given that trains can haul more passengers per operator than busses can.

  6. Grant
    May 27, 2009 at 11:37 am Link

    “The cost of driving a car” varies widely depending on the type of car one has and how much they drive. The American Automobile Association (hardly a pro-transit lobby) estimates the 2008 cost ranged from $0.36/mile for small sedans to $0.91/mile for an SUV. The median value is $0.58/mile. Claiming that a bus is 4 times as expensive as a car sounds like some seriously cherry-picked data.

  7. Jason McHuff
    May 27, 2009 at 11:46 am Link

    for the same reason that Georgetown residents opposed the Metro

    One difference between MAX and the Metro is that the Metro has turned out to be probably an unqualified success, with monumental stations attracting many tourists (when I went to DC as part of a tour group we even got to ride the Metro even though we usually went by charter buses). I’m not saying the system is excellent overall (because it does have issues, partly because of a lack of dedicated funding), but I’d bet that it has a lot less naysayers and crime-based opposition to extensions than is seen with MAX.

  8. EngineerScotty
    May 27, 2009 at 12:36 pm Link

    One difference between Metro and MAX is that as a heavy-rail subway system with third-rail power and a fully-dedicated ROW (not all trackage/stations are underground, but many are), all stations are fully enclosed. Without a valid farecard, you don’t get past the turnstiles (you could jump them, I suppose, but I don’t think turnstile jumping is a serious problem there). It’s easy to board MAX without a valid fare instrument; and fare evasion is a problem here. Crackdowns on fare evaders frequently are effective ways of removing troublemakers from the service.

    Given the size and density of Portland, a service comparable to Metro isn’t practical. MAX does come close in some places; but in other places it’s nowhere near.

  9. Jason McHuff
    May 27, 2009 at 12:48 pm Link

    Without a valid farecard, you don’t get past the turnstiles

    I was actually going to put that. Except for the fact that once someone’s in the system, they can stay as long as they want on a single fare (except maybe for the fact that they don’t really have restrooms available) I think its a good point.

  10. Bob R.
    May 27, 2009 at 12:56 pm Link

    From the event flyer, it appears this union is also protesting cuts to MAX. Based on the flyer, it does not appear that this local group is making a bus vs. rail argument.

    (Hopefully this new transit riders union can learn how to spell “fareless square”. :-) )

  11. Lenny Anderson
    May 27, 2009 at 1:27 pm Link

    The easy access to MAX…at street level, no barriers, etc. is a virtue. Indeed the stations with the most trouble are those cut off from the street…82nd Ave. Like parks, streets and other public facilities, poor behavior is best reduced by having an active and busy place.
    TRU can be an important lever in transit policy to balance organized agency employees and the governor appointed board on how the budget pie is sliced and/or how to enlarge it.

  12. R A Fontes
    May 27, 2009 at 1:51 pm Link

    It doesn’t seem the word “WES” was mentioned today at the Board meeting. Everyone seemed to be saying that everything at TriMet would be absolutely hunky dory if it only weren’t for the bad economy.

  13. jimkarlock
    May 27, 2009 at 2:33 pm Link

    Jason McHuff Says: Are you considering ALL internal and external car costs in that calculation?
    JK: I am considering transit operating costs vs. operation and capital costs of car, so it is actually worse for transit than I stated.

    Jason McHuff Says: Such as injuries and deaths caused by non-vigilant drivers (especially to pedestrians and others not in a car), health problems caused by air pollution, “free” parking that costs at least $1-2/hour when its available by itself,
    JK: Please spare us from this Sierra Klub garbage. Look at some real data. You can start here:
    portlandfacts.com/Roads/RoadSubsidy.htm

    Jason McHuff Says: lives and communities disrupted to build freeway and other projects, people killed or at least traumatized when they go to war for oil defense…
    JK: Transit uses MORE oil to transport each person each mile than an average USA car. So please, if you care about traumatizing people in war, drive a small car.

    Grant Says: “The cost of driving a car” varies widely depending on the type of car one has and how much they drive. The American Automobile Association (hardly a pro-transit lobby) estimates the 2008 cost ranged from $0.36/mile for small sedans to $0.91/mile for an SUV. The median value is $0.58/mile. Claiming that a bus is 4 times as expensive as a car sounds like some seriously cherry-picked data.
    JK: Sorry no cherry picking needed. You just have to look at the real world, not, in this case, the AAA world. When you look at their method (portlandfacts.com/Transit/AAA_method.htm) you find that their method is representative of their upscale membership, not the general public. For instance they use an average car age of 2 1/2 years while the actual USA car age is 9 years. The net result is that AAA costs in 2005 was 52.5 while the actual USA average was about 30 cents. For the “average” car. Smaller cars are cheaper. IBID

    That is per vehicle mile. The average USA vehicle has 1.57 occupants, but Bob insists on 1.3, so we’ll use 1.3. $0.30 / 1.3 = $0.23. Which is about 1/4 of Trimet’s average cost of $0.93 per passenger-mile

    Or we can use your $0.36 for small cars and say Trimet even costs 336 % of the cost of driving a NEW (small) car (0.93/(0.36/1.3) = 3.36).

    Recognize that on Trimet, you get ONE small seat, so we should compare to a single seat car, in which case tranist will look even more expensive.

    al m Says: Mr Karlock;
    How can you seriously advocate for the ending of mass transit?
    JK: I did not do that. However since you mention it, it may be possible to serve more needy people, better and cheaper with a modified system.

    al m Says: Really, you must get a little bit more realistic!
    JK: Good advise, I suggest YOU follow it.

    al m Says: These costs factors that get thrown around so much, cost per passenger/ cost per mile/ blah blah blah, are just so much nonsense.
    JK: They are an accurate reflection of reality. I suggest you try reality
    .
    al m Says: Trying to measure every single aspect of human behavior in terms of cost, is sick!
    JK: Yup. I wasn’t measuring “every single aspect of human behavior”, just the cost of a government monopoly service, delivered with typical monopoly costs.

    al m Says: How did human evolution ever lead us to this?
    JK: Look inn the mirror.

    JK: Now, here is the interesting part:
    A trimet bus carries an average of 9.9 people, so a 40 seat bus is 25% full. If the buses were ALL 100% full, the cost would, at best, drop to 1/4 of the $0.93 or to about $0.23 per passenger-mile. About what a car costs.

    Thanks
    JK

  14. ws
    May 27, 2009 at 4:55 pm Link

    Jim, don’t you have a PTA meeting to attend to where you can whine about your tax dollars going to “socialized” public schools?

  15. EngineerScotty
    May 27, 2009 at 5:06 pm Link

    Socialism. It’s what’s for dinner.

  16. Bob R.
    May 27, 2009 at 5:21 pm Link

    I realize that JK’s oft-repeated (and seldom revised) arguments tend to provoke ridicule, but please let’s not get personal. Thanks.

  17. Jason McHuff
    May 27, 2009 at 8:51 pm Link

    Please spare us from this Sierra Klub garbage

    Sorry, but I haven’t even seen any “Sierra Klub garbage”. But seriously, the things I listed did not come from any environmental organizations, and its not like I take what they say as gospel. Instead, the things I listed are commonly known–that when parking is available by itself, it generally costs at least $1-$2/hour, that motorists kill or injure many innocent people (even non-drivers) and that pollution causes health issues (see this article on the National Institutes of Health site or this article on WebMD, which, BTW, has some offices right here in Portland).

    an average USA car

    What about trucks or SUVs? Many people do commute in them (possibly because such a vehicle is useful at other times). Also, how many people are we assuming are in that car. Many people commute by themselves.

    Moreover, are we comparing the small car to a well-used transit line, where people might actually have to pay for their parking and where the built environment is friendly to pedestrians/transit riders, or are we comparing it a transit line that gets little ridership, partly because all the surrounding parking is free and the built environment discourages pedestrians/transit riders, and is instead run as a social service, for those who might have no other way to get around? If the latter, then yes, there are occasions where a smaller more efficient vehicle(s) might do.

    if you care about traumatizing people in war, drive a small car

    There’s a problem with that. If one does drive even an efficient small car, the buses and trains are still going to run regardless.

  18. EngineerScotty
    May 27, 2009 at 8:58 pm Link

    As a Usenet acquaintance of mine said over a decade ago, arguing with a hard-core Libertarian is like mud-wrestling with a pig. No matter who wins, you’ll get dirty, and the pig enjoys it.

  19. Nick theoldurbanist
    May 27, 2009 at 10:30 pm Link

    Lenny Anderson Said:

    “The easy access to MAX…at street level, no barriers, etc. is a virtue.”

    >>>> What a real railfan rationalization of a MAX drawback! God bless you, Lenny!

  20. ws
    May 27, 2009 at 10:48 pm Link

    Jason, you forgot the cost of obesity:

    http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/Obesity/economic_consequences.htm

    I’d surmise that if we built walkable communities that promoted (not forced) walking, that if everyone walked 15 minutes a day, we would save billions in private and government provided health care costs from preventative action (uh oh…preventative sounds like social engineering!). Relationships between land-use and obesity have been confirmed (don’t forget diabetes and heart-disease).

    But advocating for alternative transportation in new developments is considered socialistic behavior modification by the real “patriots” who understand what America is about (which is ironic because the New Urbanism is modeled after traditional American cities designed by early Americans who founded this country).

    Furthermore, many fire station’s responses for medical emergency (TVFR has about 77% EMS incidents of a total of 30,000+ incidents in a year). I do not know how many of these are for automobile related incidents.. But one would at least expect that fires would be the predominant incident for fire fighters, but not so!

    Also:

    Bad air costs So-Calers 28 billion dollars a year:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/11/13/MNQP143CPV.DTL

    GHG emissions are far greater in auto-dependent suburbs as well:

    http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_1_green-cities.html

    I think if we actually implemented a true, free market cost to transportation, that overwhelmingly, cars would be outrageously expensive for common people to even use. I am not advocating for this, however.

    And this is just a few of the externalized costs of the automobile.

  21. Bob R.
    May 28, 2009 at 12:05 am Link

    What a real railfan rationalization of a MAX drawback! God bless you, Lenny!

    I suspect if all buses were moved underground with turnstile access, you might wish that some were more conveniently boarded at street level without barriers.

    For all the speed and capacity advantages that heavy-rail subways offer, there is something to be said for hopping board a street-level vehicle (bus or train) which you can see coming without having to duck into an underground maze or go the extra distance through gates.

    (My own personal opinion is that there is a role for multiple levels of service. But, to dismiss the advantages of barrier-free street-level boarding of buses and trains as a “railfan rationalization” is just that: Dismissiveness.)

  22. al m
    May 28, 2009 at 12:27 am Link

    al m Says: How did human evolution ever lead us to this?
    JK: Look inn the mirror.

    Well Jim, I looked in the mirror and did not get an answer.

    I do not see life on earth as a profit and loss statement.

    As far as government is concerned, it should provide several things, military defense,
    schools,fire, police, roads, health care, and transit.

    All of those things must be provided equally to all areas of the country without regard to profit.

    Its a distinctly American concept to turn everything in life into a commodity that you can make money on.

    And in the end it might well be the undoing of the entire species itself if we cannot get past this “what’s in it for me” mentality.

  23. jimkarlock
    May 28, 2009 at 1:36 am Link

    al m: As far as government is concerned, it should provide several things, military defense,
    schools,fire, police, roads, health care, and transit.
    JK: I missed the part of the constitution where it says schools, fire, health care, and transit are government responsibilities. And why did you leave out food, water and housing? They are more important than health care in terms of immediate being.

    al m: All of those things must be provided equally to all areas of the country without regard to profit.
    JK: Without profit! Already tried and failed: Russia, China, Cuba. Got lots of people killed. Too bad you cannot understand that profit is the motive that pushes people to make improvements – they get to keep part of their improvement as profit.

    al m: And in the end it might well be the undoing of the entire species itself if we cannot get past this “what’s in it for me” mentality.
    JK: The “what’s in it for me” is what drives advances in civilization. One seldom busts his butt for the neighbor. You bust your butt advance your own family. If you are busting your butt to make a better product, then your customers benefit from the better product and you benefit form the profit. Take away the profit and you get the stagnation of failed socialism. Of course they were all equally miserable (except the leaders who always seem to be more equal.)

    Thanks
    JK

  24. nathan
    May 28, 2009 at 2:07 am Link

    Jim,

    I find it difficult to believe you are being genuine here.

    Frankly, you are a the worst kind of malcontent: you’ve been on this planet long enough to know better.

    Bob, is there any type of “ignore” function where those of us that who want to discuss issues genuinely can opt out of seeing posts from particular contributers? I have seen functions like that on other sites.

    If not, i am sure the overwhelming majority of visitors would appreciate such an addition.

  25. jimkarlock
    May 28, 2009 at 2:36 am Link

    Jason McHuff Says: Instead, the things I listed are commonly known–. . .and that pollution causes health issues
    JK: See this:
    No American city is among the top 50 cities in the world for air pollution according to the World Bank. (1) Another list, ‘The Top Ten of the Dirty Thirty,’ compiled by the Blacksmith Institute of New York compared the toxicity of contamination, the likelihood of it getting into humans and the number of people affected. Places were bumped up in rank if children were impacted. No US or European sites made the list. Sites in China, India and Russia occupied six of the top ten spots. (americanthinker.com/2009/05/the_geography_of_carbon_emissi.html)

    Thanks
    JK

  26. Jeff F
    May 28, 2009 at 8:17 am Link

    JK: The “what’s in it for me” is what drives advances in civilization. One seldom busts his butt for the neighbor. You bust your butt advance your own family. If you are busting your butt to make a better product, then your customers benefit from the better product and you benefit form the profit. Take away the profit and you get the stagnation of failed socialism. Of course they were all equally miserable (except the leaders who always seem to be more equal.)

    The very concept of “profit” is new to human culture, and yet we’ve managed to get so far. All that has ever really been required for scientific, artistic, etc etc advancement has been leisure time for at least one segment of the population. This is the central defining error in libertarianism: that humans are motivated solely or even primarily by accumulation of wealth.

    Take a look back through history, JK, at who was responsible for advancements and improvements and take a good look at how few of them were motivated by money.

  27. Bob R.
    May 28, 2009 at 9:10 am Link

    I missed the part of the constitution where it says schools, fire, health care, and transit are government responsibilities. And why did you leave out food, water and housing? They are more important than health care in terms of immediate being.

    There’s nothing in the constitution which mandates the government be involved in these things, but also nothing which requires the government stay out.

    That’s the wonderful thing about our constitutionally-limited representative government: We the people, via our elected representatives, can get the government involved in a number of areas, should we so choose.

    Then there’s that whole “promoting the general welfare” thing.

    But if you want to go back to the days of private fire departments, where your house would be allowed to burn down if you didn’t display the correct medallion, rather than a collective system where society views it important that nobody’s house just be allowed to burn, please feel free to advocate for it in the appropriate forum.

    There’s nothing in the constitution which says the government _must_ foster the development of a technology for world-wide interconnected computer networks, but we did wind up with this really cool Internet thing despite the government’s early involvement.

  28. Bob R.
    May 28, 2009 at 9:12 am Link

    Nathan –

    No, the current blogging platform doesn’t provide for a commenter rating/ignore function. Nor does this site currently require registration of commenters, which is a prerequisite for the proper functioning of such a feature.

  29. Jeff F
    May 28, 2009 at 9:36 am Link

    JK: Now, here is the interesting part:
    A trimet bus carries an average of 9.9 people, so a 40 seat bus is 25% full. If the buses were ALL 100% full, the cost would, at best, drop to 1/4 of the $0.93 or to about $0.23 per passenger-mile. About what a car costs.

    Other than a reference to AAA, I’m not finding any citations for any of your numbers, JK. To start with, could you provide a source for the “average of 9.9 people”?

  30. Bob R.
    May 28, 2009 at 9:54 am Link

    Let’s see if I can arrive at the average load using TriMet’s published FY08 numbers.

    (Would someone please tell the person who compiles this data into a PDF each year to be less protective with the PDF security settings? Copying/pasting is prohibited, so I have to hand-type these numbers. A little liberalization here would be much appreciated. :-) )

    For buses in FY08:

    Passenger-miles: 225,211,008
    Revenue-miles: 22,574,030

    This would imply that for each revenue-mile of service provided, there is an average of 9.98 passengers.

    Here’s the same calculation for MAX in FY08:

    Passenger-miles: 182,242,500
    Revenue-miles: 3,874,843

    That would mean an average of 47.03 passengers per train. (I’m assuming here that 1 revenue-mile for a 2-car train set is counted as 1 revenue-mile in the TriMet report.)

    So I’m guessing that’s how JK arrived at this figure, unless I’m missing something in TriMet’s publication, that seems to be a straightforward approach.

  31. ws
    May 28, 2009 at 10:44 am Link

    For all the speed and capacity advantages that heavy-rail subways offer, there is something to be said for hopping board a street-level vehicle (bus or train) which you can see coming without having to duck into an underground maze or go the extra distance through gates.

    As far as ADA access, the street level approach is very good – something that buses and subways are very bad at (unless there’s an elevator).

    I’ve read it takes about 80 seconds on average for a bus to board a wheelchair bound passenger. I’d say that’s about right from my experiences, too.

  32. vancouver resident
    May 28, 2009 at 11:14 am Link

    Back on the $ per mile analysis – I have an early 1990s Honda Accord. The operating cost of operating the car has been $0.075 per mile for repairs and maintenance – I saved all the receipts since I acquired the car in 1997 and $0.075 = total costs/total miles driven. My current mileage is about 29 MPG and with gas costing $2.45 a gallon, it runs me $0.085 per mile. So my total cost is $0.16 per mile to drive. (I’m lucky, I received the car for free. If I bought the car for about $7,000 – the going price at the time, my “purchase cost per mile” would be $0.04 per mile, so my total would be $0.20 per mile).

    Riding an Express C-Tran bus to downtown Portland at $3 per way makes sense for me, especially when parking costs are included. But there’s no way that I’ll take public transit to Beaverton or Gresham as it takes way too long to get to a specific address via the bus or MAX. At $0.16 per mile, my time is more valuable.

  33. Jeff F
    May 28, 2009 at 11:14 am Link

    Bob R.

    Passenger-miles: 225,211,008
    Revenue-miles: 22,574,030

    This would imply that for each revenue-mile of service provided, there is an average of 9.98 passengers.

    Ah. OK, then it’s just another example of “average” and how useless it is. This fails to take into account the fact that much of the fleet sits idle except during rush hours and that during rush hours many are running at or above capacity. It’s just another meaningless number.

  34. vancouver resident
    May 28, 2009 at 11:29 am Link

    I can’t figure out how to quote – Sorry….

    Bob wrote “There’s nothing in the constitution which mandates the government be involved in these things, but also nothing which requires the government stay out.”

    I totally agree with you Bob.

  35. Lenny Anderson
    May 28, 2009 at 11:44 am Link

    The first time I rode MAX to Hillsboro I was struck by how effortless it is to travel by MAX. Several of us were standing at the platform/sidewalk at Pioneer Courthouse Sq…talking about one thing or another. MAX pulls up, we walk on…just a short step up and off it goes. We continue our conversation and 20 minutes later we are in Beaverton; I take note of why I would never drive there, and we are off again and before long we take a short step down and are walking the streets of Hillsboro. It occurred to me that the reason Clark county and at the time Clackamas county were resisting MAX is that they do NOT want to be so easily accessible.

  36. Aaron W.
    May 28, 2009 at 12:25 pm Link

    @Vancouver Resident. Very interesting data. I know the suggested federal reimbursement level is around 50cents a mile. As a fellow Honda owner, this is nice information. Anyone know how the feds came up with their number? Is it simply indexed to inflation and based on number originally calculated to inflation?

  37. Bob R.
    May 28, 2009 at 12:47 pm Link

    It is true that a well-maintained, inexpensive used car is inexpensive on a cost-per-mile basis. In order for there to be a supply of well-maintained, inexpensive, there needs to first be a steady supply of well-depreciated, well-maintained new cars, which will of course have a relatively high cost-per-mile.

    A $15,000 new car with an expected life span before major maintenance of 150,000 miles, for example, costs 10 cents per mile before it even leaves the dealer lot. This cost is usually borne in the first few years of depreciation by the first owner, rather than the subsequent owner, but it is still a cost.

  38. jimkarlock
    May 28, 2009 at 2:54 pm Link

    Bob R. Says: Let’s see if I can arrive at the average load using TriMet’s published FY08 numbers.
    JK: Thanks, Bob. I actually used the NTD data for their most recent year, 2007.
    ntdprogram.com/ntdprogram/

    Thanks
    JK

  39. nuovorecord
    May 28, 2009 at 3:08 pm Link

    Anyone know how the feds came up with their number? Is it simply indexed to inflation and based on number originally calculated to inflation?

    From teh Google…

    http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=200505,00.html

  40. jimkarlock
    May 29, 2009 at 12:17 am Link

    nuovorecord Says: Anyone know how the feds came up with their number? Is it simply indexed to inflation and based on number originally calculated to inflation?
    JK: They simply use the AAA number which is based on AAA’s upscale purchasing habits of a new car every 5 years for average age of 2.5 years compared to the actual USA average car age of 9 years. That makes the number quit a bit above the actual average cost. For details of their method and the actual USA averages, see portlandfacts.com/Transit/AAA_method.htm

    Thanks
    JK

  41. jimkarlock
    May 29, 2009 at 3:21 am Link

    Jeff F Says: The very concept of “profit” is new to human culture, and yet we’ve managed to get so far. All that has ever really been required for scientific, artistic, etc etc advancement has been leisure time for at least one segment of the population.
    JK: We are not talking scientific and/or artistic advancement. We are talking about things that better the human condition. That require turning theory into practice. If profit is not important, where are all the advances made by the Soviet Union, China under Mao, East Germany, Cuba or any of the other despicable so-called worker’s paradises? There are NONE (or damn few)

    While we are at it, where are all of the new, life saving drugs coming from counties with socialized medicine?

    Jeff F Says: This is the central defining error in libertarianism: that humans are motivated solely or even primarily by accumulation of wealth.
    JK: Oh? Then why did NONE of the communist countries excel at human advancement? Why did communism turn Europe’s breadbasket into a county that could not feed itself?

    Jeff F Says: Take a look back through history, JK, at who was responsible for advancements and improvements and take a good look at how few of them were motivated by money.
    JK: We had a lot of advances made by those already wealthy. Then we had the Fords, Colts, Teslas, Edisons – all motivated to make money. BTW myself and a lot of people I know are minor players on that list. If the government would provide for all my needs, I would be happy goofing off all day, or just playing on the workbench without going through the hassle to commercialize my creations.

    Why don’t you get back to me after YOU have had one of your creations in Radio Shack, or distributed internationally? Or used by the government or a major TV network. Or any other sign that you are capable of doing anything other than feeling sorry for yourself because you haven’t done anything worthwhile.

    Thanks
    JK

  42. Jeff F
    May 29, 2009 at 6:18 am Link

    JK: Why don’t you get back to me after YOU have had one of your creations in Radio Shack, or distributed internationally? Or used by the government or a major TV network. Or any other sign that you are capable of doing anything other than feeling sorry for yourself because you haven’t done anything worthwhile.

    I’ve done a great deal I know is worthwhile, Mr Karlock, although I have no interest in inventing electronic devices, thanks. I don’t feel sorry for myself, but I’m beginning to feel sorry for you.

    JK: We are not talking scientific and/or artistic advancement. We are talking about things that better the human condition.

    Then we’re clearly not talking about the same thing, because artistic and scientific advancement is, to me, more significant than an improved antenna.

    JK: Jeff F Says: This is the central defining error in libertarianism: that humans are motivated solely or even primarily by accumulation of wealth.
    JK: Oh? Then why did NONE of the communist countries excel at human advancement? Why did communism turn Europe’s breadbasket into a county that could not feed itself?

    The fact that communism is a poor economic strategy in no way proves that humans are motivated by the accumulation of wealth. There are a great many political & economic models in the world, JK, not two.

  43. jimkarlock
    May 29, 2009 at 4:28 pm Link

    Jeff F Says: There are a great many political & economic models in the world, JK, not two.
    JK: Care to name a few that figured out how nature works and used that knowledge to provide most people with the highest standard of living the earth has ever known?

    The only danger to centuries more progress, is fools, who have never accomplished anything, thinking they know a better way. Always unproven, of course.

    Thanks
    JK

  44. Jeff F
    May 29, 2009 at 5:21 pm Link

    JK: Care to name a few that figured out how nature works and used that knowledge to provide most people with the highest standard of living the earth has ever known?

    The highest standard of living is generally attributed to the Scandinavian countries, Canada, Australia . . . for the most part, they have economies with a definitely socialistic side, including nationalized health care.

  45. jimkarlock
    May 29, 2009 at 9:35 pm Link

    with a definitely socialistic side,
    IE: They are primarily capitalistic with the profit motive intact.

    BTW, how many new drugs and cures came from those socialist health care countries compared to ours?

    Thanks
    JK

  46. Jeff F
    May 29, 2009 at 10:01 pm Link

    BTW, how many new drugs and cures came from those socialist health care countries compared to ours?

    Why do you keep moving the goal posts?

    with a definitely socialistic side,
    IE: They are primarily capitalistic with the profit motive intact.

    These are exactly the societies you decry as “socialistic” because of planning, national health care, et al and now you’re claiming they’re “primarily capitalistic” rather than concede that they do not fit your simplistic dichotomy.

    They are not “primarily capitalistic,” thanks.

    http://tinyurl.com/nw5scg

    “Well-developed biotech and life sciences clusters across the Scandinavian region enable world-class research and provide pools of well-educated personnel and versatile facilities to support start-up companies.”

    Thanks

  47. jimkarlock
    May 30, 2009 at 3:53 am Link

    Jeff F.: “Well-developed biotech and life sciences clusters across the Scandinavian region enable world-class research and provide pools of well-educated personnel and versatile facilities to support start-up companies.”
    JK:, I asked if there were any results and you replied that they are trying.

    Again: Are there any results? How many life saving drugs have these “not “primarily capitalistic”” companies developed?

    And if they are not “primarily capitalistic,” how are they being rewarded for success – or do they just keep feeding money into the non-producers as well as the producers?

    Thanks
    JK

  48. jimkarlock
    May 30, 2009 at 4:01 am Link

    JK: Since this has been here for several days, I assume it passes the standards criteria:

    May 27, 2009 8:58 PM
    EngineerScotty Says:
    As a Usenet acquaintance of mine said over a decade ago, arguing with a hard-core Libertarian is like mud-wrestling with a pig. No matter who wins, you’ll get dirty, and the pig enjoys it.

    JK: Thanks, EngineerScotty, this moderate Libertarian gets the same feeling arguing with the transit advocates, anti mobility advocates, high density advocates and socialists here.

    Particularly frustrating are those that think others should respect their lifestyle choices, while advocating the denial of life style choices to others.

    Thanks
    JK

  49. Jeff F
    May 30, 2009 at 7:25 am Link

    JK: Again: Are there any results? How many life saving drugs have these “not “primarily capitalistic”” companies developed? Again: Are there any results? How many life saving drugs have these “not “primarily capitalistic”” companies developed?

    This has turned into a silly dance, JK. My original comment was that the flaw in libertarianism was the assumption that humans were motivated solely or primarily by profit. Your response was that communism was a failure. My response to that was that there were more than two economic models. You challenged that and claimed that we had the highest standard of living in history — to which I provided a rebuttal that we do not, and that the countries that do use a mixed (third way) economic model.

    You’ve told me that scientific advancements don’t count, and then asked for proof that Scandinavian drug research (scientific) was effective. Frankly, the shifting goalposts and strawmen dancing around are silly and my knees hurt.

    If you could provide evidence that profit is, in fact, the primary motivator, please do so, but a simple declaration that it is so doesn’t cut it.

  50. EngineerScotty
    May 30, 2009 at 9:18 am Link

    That many (not all) are motivated by wealth (or “profit”) isn’t unsurprising or controversial–even Marx recognized this. Many competing socio-economic theories–Marxism included, and various forms of libertarianism as well–are fundamentally arguments about who is entitled to the largest slice of the pie.

    The problem with Libertarianism, Jeff, isn’t that it assumes humans are motivated by profit–which is a reasonable assumption, and one that is widely found in economics. The problem (or rather, “a” problem; as there are many) with untrammeled libertarianism is that it tends to lead to concentrations of wealth–the game of Monopoly is actually not a bad model of what typically happens. One actor will obtain an advantage (whether by luck, hard work, skill, or cheating)–and sooner or later, he’s got all the cash and can dictate terms to his opponents. Many types of libertarianism, especially the more obnoxious Randian strains, then go further and assert that this is Not A Problem–if someone can get a monopoly on Park Place and Boardwalk and clean out his opponents–golly, he’s an enlightened entrepreneur who deserves the fruits of his labor, and the other less worthy players at the table deserve to suffer for their lack of industry and thrift. (Of course, the Monopoly model fails when you consider the assumption that everyone starts with an equal $1500; real life isn’t like that).

    The (or a) problem with Marxism–especially those forms which dispensed with (or never implemented) diffusion of political power–is neatly illustrated by Orwell’s Animal Farm. A boss is still a boss, even if you call him “comrade”. The end result is a concentration of power in an unaccountable actor, which is a Bad Thing–and frequently worse than libertarianism, as economic and political power are concentrated in a single entity.

    The most successful modern economies are those that a) are politically effective democracies, coupled with b) fundamentally capitalist economies, and c) limited state intervention in the marketplace where appropriate. There is, a lot of leeway in the words “limited” and “appropriate”–a Frenchman or a Swede may have a more expansive view of government’s proper role here than do most Americans.

    But arguments that mass transit, or the Fed, or the public schools, or the post office, or a PUD, or the public roadways, or numerous other examples of democratically-enacted, publicly-owned services and infrastructure–should be abandoned because they constitute “socialism” is nonsense. Our system of laws clearly permits such things; we’ve had public schools and a central bank and a government-run post office and such since before Karl Marx was born.

    Arguments appealing to Libertarian philosophy are fundamentally irrelevant. Many of us here are not libertarians; our body politic is not bound to libertarian dogma, and what libertarians think about a policy matter is to me worth a bucket of warm spit. Engaging Libertarians on the subject of libertarianism–including retorts that the roads are “socialist” too–is missing the point. This website is about transit and transit policy and mobility in general, not about socio-economic theory in the abstract.

    If Libertarians want to have a say in public policy, they might try winning a damn election sometime. Hitching your wagon to the GOP is not a wise course–if you haven’t figured out that the Republicans view Libertarians as useful idiots–another wonderful turn of phase from Marks–then I can’t help you.

  51. EngineerScotty
    May 30, 2009 at 9:21 am Link

    Did I really misspell “Marx” as “Marks”? Must be time for my morning coffee. :)

  52. ws
    May 30, 2009 at 11:17 am Link

    EngineerScotty:

    Well said.

  53. Jeff F
    May 30, 2009 at 12:11 pm Link

    EngineerScotty Says: The problem with Libertarianism, Jeff, isn’t that it assumes humans are motivated by profit–which is a reasonable assumption, and one that is widely found in economics.

    The difference is that libertarians thereby attach a monetary value to everything. The cannery spoils the food and you get sick? Fine, take the cannery to court and a monetary value will be attached if you can prove it. Regulations that prevent the spoilage in the first place are inappropriate and hamper growth.

    And any economic analysis that ignores other human interests and motivations is inherently flawed.

  54. EngineerScotty
    May 30, 2009 at 12:52 pm Link

    I think we’re (mostly) in agreement–there are many things which cannot be readily valued in dollars and cents.

  55. jimkarlock
    May 30, 2009 at 6:21 pm Link

    EngineerScotty Says:
    I think we’re (mostly) in agreement–there are many things which cannot be readily valued in dollars and cents.

    JK:
    Well, duuuh!

    Thanks
    JK

  56. EngineerScotty
    May 30, 2009 at 7:20 pm Link

    Glad to see you agree too, JK

Leave a Reply

By posting a comment, you are granting a license to Portland Transport for your comment. Please refer to The Rules.