Our Draft Candidate Questionnaire

Thanks for all the input on the questionnaire for Metro President candidates. Here’s what I have synthesized it down to. Please review it and suggest:

  • Any biases (other than those consistent with the point of view of the site)
  • Any crucial issues missing
  • Anything that could be removed to to make it more concise
  • Better ways to phrase the questions

We definitely need at least one more good pedestrian question! Some careful proofreading would also be helpful.

Proposed Questionnaire:

  1. Vision:

    Assuming you serve two consecutive terms and are able to accomplish all of your goals, describe how transportation and mobility in the region have changed.

  2. Policy Priorities:
    • The business community in conjunction with Metro has produced a “Cost of Congestion Report” that argues that congestion is a drag on our economy. Others would argue that safety or environmental concerns are more important factors. How do you balance these issues?
    • Adopted State and local policies have strong goals around VMT reduction in support of avoiding impacts from climate change. To a lesser extent there are also policies that recognize the risk of energy price or supply uncertainty due to peak oil. How should these issues be incorporated in regional transportation planning?
    • The Regional Transportation Plan currently in the process of adoption is the first to model for Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG). The modeling shows that all versions of the plan increase GHG emissions, even more so that then the no-build scenario. JPACT has taken the position that the plan cannot be conformed to GHG goals in this cycle. How and when should the RTP be conformed to GHG goals?
    • Jobs/housing imbalance has been identified as a component of VMT growth. What policies can/should Metro adopt to redress imbalance?
    • How can regional policy improve combined housing/transportation affordability for households in our region?
    • How would you balance priority for the road system with completing the transit, bike and pedestrian transportation systems?
  3. Columbia River Crossing:
    • The CRC, even with the cost reductions currently being discussed, would represent a significant fraction of all transportation investment in the region in the next 20 years. What is the priority of the CRC versus other transportation investments?
    • Do you support a CRC project and if so, what is your preferred configuration?
    • If you support the CRC, how would you propose to fund it and what impact would your funding proposal have on the availability of funding for other regional transportation priorities?
  4. The Role of Pricing:

    How we pay for transportation has impacts both on the adequacy of funding and the way the transportation system is used.

    • Is the current level of resources sufficient to fund our transportation system? If not, how would you persuade voters and local, state and national leaders to increase funding?
    • Many funding tools have been proposed that have greater or lesser impacts on demand management. How would you deploy tools like gas taxes, VMT taxes, street maintenance feeds or various forms of tolling (or other tools) to meet our region’s goals?
  5. Transit:

    There are competing perspectives on the priority of expanding the regional and local (e.g., streetcar) rail transit system. One argument is that per-trip operating costs for rail are lower than for buses and that rail is more successful at attracting choice riders and supporting compact development. On the other hand, many transit-dependent families must rely on bus service which has seen level funding or cuts in recent years.

    • Should the current practice of allocating growth in transit operating revenue primarily to rail expansion continue?
    • Do you support using funds that would otherwise be available for operations to bond for capital construction?
    • How should equity considerations be factored into transit planning?
    • Is TriMet’s current governance structure with a board appointed by the Governor and State Senate appropriate? If not, what would you suggest?
    • Is transit operating funding adequate? If not, what additional sources of revenue would you propose/support?
    • Should TriMet have a rainy-day fund to protect operations during economic downturns?
  6. Bicycles and Pedestrians:
    • Do you support the “Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030” that will be before City Council in February?
    • Would you support a comparable level of bicycle investment in other parts of the region?
    • How would you propose to fund “The Intertwine”, Metro’s recommended regional trail system?
    • Development has occurred in many parts of the region (including some Portland neighborhoods) under standards that did not require sidewalks to be constructed at the time of development. Current policy holding property owners responsible for funding sidewalk construction has seriously hindered filling gaps in the sidewalk system. How would you propose to accelerate bringing streets without sidewalks within the UGB up to urban standards?
  7. Freight:

    Metro’s role in planning for the movement of goods and services is primarily focused on trucks and how they fit into the street/road system. Should Metro undertake a stronger role in rail and marine freight planning? If so, what would this look like?

2 responses to “Our Draft Candidate Questionnaire”

  1. region have changed

    How about “region will have changed”, since we’re talking about the future? Or “describe how you will change…”.

    Also, regarding transit governance, you could ask if they think Metro should take over the board (and manage it like the zoo) or all of TriMet, given that Metro also deals with transit issues. However, before that bandwagon takes off and the idea is seriously considered, it needs to be analyzed if it’s actually workable or not.

    Lastly, another pedestrian question could be about street crossings or some other part of the walking environment that may be discouraging. But overall, some good questions.

  2. Hello Chris. Thanks for putting this together.

    My suggestions would be as follows:

    On pedestrians:

    Pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure have historically received the smaller piece of the infrastructure pie. Given this reality and the need for more multi-modal development and planning, in what specific ways will you as Metro Council President work to prioritize these active transportation modes, harmonizing federal transportation dollars and private investment for the biggest economic benefit?

    On TriMet: (as a follow up to the current question)

    Would you consider working with the governor’s office to work out a comprise to make the public agency more accountable, such as selecting individuals to a pool of potential applicants for the governor’s appointment or collaborating with governor on these appointments?

    Also, I would add, “construction excise tax” to the following question:

    Many funding tools have been proposed that have greater or lesser impacts on demand management. How would you deploy tools like gas taxes, VMT taxes, street maintenance feeds or various forms of tolling (or other tools) to meet our region’s goals?

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