Better Choices than Wringing Our Hands?


More bad news for TriMet, and for us – they need to take $27M out of their budget this year, and that implies some big cuts in service.

Suppose as a community we decided it was time to do something else. How would we raise more revenue for transit operations (NOT for capital). How might we do it? Here are just a couple of ideas:

  • A local sales tax dedicated to transit operations
  • A tax on commercial parking spaces

What’s your good idea? What would voters and leaders in this region sign up for?


88 responses to “Better Choices than Wringing Our Hands?”

  1. Any sort of sales tax is a total non-starter, too many folks in the area a) depend on Oregon’s lack of sales tax to drive sales from Washington and b) believe that the implementation of even a tiny sales tax will open the door to a normal sales tax down the road. The idea of a sales tax is pretty much a political nuclear bomb.

    I’d propose increasing revenue for Trimet by implementing a gas tax in the area, something like 5 cents a gallon and have it pegged to inflation. I’d also add 15 cents to the price the standard Trimet fare (and increase monthly fares, etc as well), that way users of the system would help cover the shortfall.

  2. start with cutting his own pay

    While that might be a symbolic gesture, of something, even if he cut his own pay by say $50,000, it wouldn’t even cover 2/10ths of 1% of the budget shortfall.

    So I suggest they look elsewhere for solutions which might bring more magnitude to bear on the problem.

  3. And now we see TriMet’s plans for service cuts.

    The following lines will have the weekday time between buses increased by 2-3 minutes during mid-day and by 2-10 minutes in the evenings.

    * 4-Division/Fessenden
    * 6-Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
    * 8-Jackson Park/NE 15th
    * 9-Powell/Broadway
    * 12-Barbur/Sandy
    * 14-Hawthorne
    * 15-Belmont/NW 23rd

    Proposed MAX Service Changes

    The start and end times of MAX service and rush hour service will remain the same. The time between trains will be increased from 15 minutes to 17 minutes on all lines during midday, evening and weekend trips. In the early morning and late evening, the time between trains will be increased by up to 4 minutes.

    Time to get a bicycle, I guess.

  4. How about cutting salaries or benefits. Many of us in the private sector have gone through that over the past two years. Not much sympathy here. I’m not saying bus drivers are overpaid but what I am saying is that a small salary or benefit but would cover this shortfall.

  5. How about adjusting fares to 100% of the actual cost and implement transit vouchers for the needy.

    No point in subsidizing 80% of the transport costs for well off people. We can no longer afford welfare for the well-to-do.

    Thanks
    JK

  6. Since transit only really serves downtown well, let the downtown pay the actual cost of one cost of their density, instead of externalizing their transport cost of high density to the rest of the region.

    Lets tax those businesses that benefit most from Trimet:

    The downtown land & business owners.

    Thanks
    JK

  7. Uh, JK… its serving the low density areas that’s expensive; whether your running bus lines, building roads, or installing all sorts of other infrastructure and services.

    But other than that little detail, excellent idea!

  8. As a followup to JK’s “suggestion”, here’s a thought experiment:

    What if TriMet were to limit itself to, say, the City of Portland? In other words, the City is its tax base, and all of Tri-Met’s lines run within the city limits–unless there is agreement with other municipalities or counties to provide for service? (Assume MAX runs as usual; with such agreements with the cities of Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Gresham, and the three county governments? Assume also that WES becomes Washington County’s problem…)

    How would this affect Tri-Met’s ability to provide service to Portland?

    I’m not suggesting this SHOULD be done–a region-wide integrated transit agency is better than a patchwork of agencies each serving a different region or corridor (especially if said agencies have different fare structures and no transfer compatibility). I’m just asking–are the suburbs a net BENEFIT to TriMet at the current levels of service, by providing a larger tax base used to subsidy inner-city transit, or a HINDRANCE–a place where most of the busses run empty?

  9. EngineerScotty Says: Uh, JK… its serving the low density areas that’s expensive; whether your running bus lines, building roads, or installing all sorts of other infrastructure and services.
    JK: Got any evidence of that? (And I don’t mean from pathological liars like the Congress for New Urbanism and the like)

    The reason that I ask for evidence is that it is a strange claim in view of the fact that cost of government is generally smaller in the smaller towns. As is the cost of housing.

    We (ADC Annual Conference ) toured a new planned community in Texas where the builder paid for the roads, sewers, water system, lakes, water features, schools, churches, libraries, and community centers. In other words a complete community WITHOUT government subsidies and was able to sell 2000 sqft homes with 2-3 car garages on 1/4-1/3 acre lots for well under $200,000. You know, less than the price of a skinny house here on a 1/18 acre lot with a one car garage.

    Thanks
    JK

  10. jk: We (ADC Annual Conference ) toured a new planned community in Texas where the builder paid for the roads, sewers, water system, lakes, water features, schools, churches, libraries, and community centers. In other words a complete community WITHOUT government subsidies and was able to sell 2000 sqft homes with 2-3 car garages on 1/4-1/3 acre lots for well under $200,000. You know, less than the price of a skinny house here on a 1/18 acre lot with a one car garage.

    That’s wonderful, jk, but to take advantage of that price one would have to live in Texas. You always seem to leave out the “demand” side of “supply & demand” in these discussions.

    One of the reasons for lower housing prices is their location in places fewer people want to live. Still, it’s great that developers have learned that paying for amenities increases the perceived value of their property. Good for them!

    All words, thoughts, opinions are purely the product of Me, and not my employer.

  11. It’s simple math, JK. Many types of infrastructure have a cost thats driven by their length. It costs twice as much to lay a pipe, pave a road, or drive a bus ten miles than it costs to do any of these for only five. If the length buys you twice as many paying customers for the service as before, great. But low-density implies it’s not.

    Comparing small towns to big cities is not useful; a more useful comparison is comparing dense big cities to sprawled-out ones.

    I’m with Jeff in that I’m all for builders paying for infrastructure in developments. However, that needs to include additional infrastructure needed to REACH said developments. When people keep building subdivisions on the outside of town, it puts pressure on the freeway (or the transit system in some places) to add capacity. Additional growth closer in is cheaper, because the number of passenger-route-miles needed is less.

    Now if you’re talking about building complete town centers apart from downtown, where most trips are local (and many don’t need a vehicle), that’s another matter. But residential-only subdivisions put a tremendous strain on infrastructure, even if the infrastructure within the subdivision is provided by the builder.

  12. Scotty:

    The who benefits, suburbs or city question is as old as Trimet itself. In the 1970s, the conclusion was that :

    A.) Having a metropolitan agency made for better service and planning than splitting up the services — people actually complained that TriMet didn’t include the Blue Line busses at first and lobbied hard for their inclusion, and

    B.) The tax base of suburban businesses was a net benefit to the agency.

    I even have a copy of an Oregon Journal op-ed from about 1974 arguing that TriMet must continue to serve the suburbs and serve them better to show businesses there that they benefit from the service.

    I highly doubt that splitting up TriMet would make an ounce of difference on this matter. This is based in private sector economic underperformance, not administrative issues. Look at the Puget Sound region. Their bus systems are balkanized, and they are having the same problems we are, especially at King County METRO.

    And I should point out that having transit districts for every jurisdiction means higher overhead through increased administrative costs, greater service disparities through reduced tax bases and the inability to cross-subsidize, and a worse disparity of service due to an even greater varying level of political support across the region.

    But you should probably dismiss everything I just said as lies, since I am a member of CNU.

  13. Speaking of lies, JK might check [this] [Moderator: Link to global-warming article showing that an widely circulated “denialist” report is highly flawed removed. Completely off-topic, especially for this thread.] out. :) (Hurry before Bob deletes it!) [Moderator: Yoink]

    Still, that is kind of what I suspected. Of course, JK and others will probably cite this as proof of urban transit being inefficient, when it to me looks like proof that a disproportionate share of jobs are out in Washington County. As someone who lives out there (mainly because I work out there), I wouldn’t mind at all greater density in this part o’ town. Unfortunately, the county government seems to want 50 square miles of additional land to sprawl over instead, despite there being plenty of room for infill.

  14. Al will hate this, but.

    Perhaps pay changes for transit drivers (and many other professionals), rather than being pegged to cost-of-living, ought to be pegged to overall payroll levels?

    A big problem that organized labor has–is its lost its moral authority; its argument that it represents the interest of the American worker (as a whole; not just those with union jobs). For many years, the influence of labor set a floor on wages and working conditions for mostly everybody.

    Not anymore, unfortunately. Recently, it was announced that the vast majority of unionized workers in the US are in the public sector, not the private sector; a threshold finally crossed. This isn’t due to an expanse of jobs in the public sector; instead its due to massive losses of union jobs in the private sector. Much of this is not the fault of labor–outsourcing, trade policy, and a series of labor-unfriendly administrations and court decisions have contributed to the decline.

    But labor has hurt itself to–in many instances, unions (both as a movement, and individually) have demonstrated primary concern only for their own membership. Much union muscle in DC hasn’t gone to helping the plight of workers, but of only those fortunate to work in industries or sectors where the union hasn’t been busted.

    As a result, many low-skilled workers in this country view unions as parasites and not protectors. When GOP pols can go into former Southern mill towns and rile up the crowd by ranting against big labor–that’s a problem. When Al is paid more than most of the folks who ride his bus (nothing personal, of course)–that’s a problem.

    Of course, many of the unions that do still exist have been taking it in the shorts. Go ask UAW. But private sector wages–union and otherwise–have been going DOWN in this recession; and many employers have taken full advantage of the lull in business to reorganize further–moving more work overseas. Yet many in the public sector still are going to get COLAs. My cost of living went up in the past year, but my adjustment? It was negative. At least I still have a job.

    Public employees need to feel their share of the pain. I hate to say it, but it’s probably a requirement for long-term structural reform and economic justice in this country. Until then, the wealthy will be able to have their way with the rest of us, by playing the few remaining unionized professions against the rest of the working class.

    If the race to the bottom is gonna be slowed down, it’s gonna require a consensus of American workers. And far too many of them feel betrayed by labor, rather than supported by it.

    End rant. :)

  15. Well, Scotty, in case Al doesn’t drop by to say anything snarky about your comment, I’ll just add: Perhaps TriMet should follow Wall Street’s lead and acknowledge that everyone is facing hard times and just pay their employees six to nine-figure “retention bonuses”. After all, the public sector should act more like the private sector, right? ;-)

  16. On a more serious note, a “second stimulus” could be implemented which back-stopped the costs of key public services. But the likelihood of something big coming out of contemporary Washington seems rather low.

  17. Oh, I’m not defending the pay practices of Wall Street, no sir. (There have been a few calls for on this blog for Fred H. to take a paycut–as you note, even if his salary went to zero, it would make scarcely a dent).

    Of course, you’ll note lots of talk about a “jobless recovery”–with the stock market doing better (ignoring the past week), but unemployment still high. If you’re RICH, you’re doing quite well through the recession. And companies are hiring–its just that they’re more and more hiring overseas.

    There’s a lot of fast food restaurants now where if you go through the drive-through, someone at a call center in India takes your order; and relays it to the cooks in the restaurant. So even minimum-wage jobs are getting outsourced, where the technology permits it.

    I’m sure that someone, somewhere, is pouring millions of dollars into developing systems to permit transit vehicles to be operated remotely as well. It would propably be good for the agency and possibly for riders (at least until there aren’t any left), but it would be bad for Al.

    I agree that Washington–in particular, the US Senate, where there’s at least a dozen Republicans that somehow have (D) next to their name–is unlikely to do anything substantial. Unlike the tea partiers, I have a better clue whose fault that is….

  18. JeffF Says: That’s wonderful, jk, but to take advantage of that price one would have to live in Texas.
    JK: It is not the location, it is the government policies. They don’t have Metro’s land rationing which makes a 1/3 acre lot cost more here than a whole house + 1/3 acre in regions without Metro’s rationing (or similar policies).

    JeffF Says: You always seem to leave out the “demand” side of “supply & demand” in these discussions.
    JK: No, you always leave out the lack of supply due to Metro’s land supply restrictions which drive up housing costs. 1/3 acre of buildable land here costs more than a house on a 1/3 acre lot in that planned (not government planned!) community in an area without Metro’s land rationing.

    JeffF Says: One of the reasons for lower housing prices is their location in places fewer people want to live.
    JK: Please quit parroting the crap from the smart growth crowd. The reality is that the Houston area is growing faster than the Portland area. Hence your statement is incorrect. Further their average income is usually higher and their un-employment lower.

    JeffF Says: Still, it’s great that developers have learned that paying for amenities increases the perceived value of their property. Good for them!
    JK: Now if the politicians can just learn that they are driving up the cost of land and driving up the cost of housing resulting in hurting people.

    Those same clowns at Metro (and their clones around the county) actually caused the housing bubble and thus almost brought down the world financial system. For instance, see this Nobel Prize economist’s article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/08/opinion/08krugman.html

    Thanks
    JK

  19. EngineerScotty Says: It’s simple math, JK. Many types of infrastructure have a cost thats driven by their length. It costs twice as much to lay a pipe, pave a road, or drive a bus ten miles than it costs to do any of these for only five. If the length buys you twice as many paying customers for the service as before, great. But low-density implies it’s not.
    JK: That is only one small part of the cost of a home. Also please explain why housing costs less in the suburbs if you are correct in your “analysis”

    EngineerScotty Says: Comparing small towns to big cities is not useful; a more useful comparison is comparing dense big cities to sprawled-out ones.
    JK: Then show us with some numbers.

    EngineerScotty Says: I’m with Jeff in that I’m all for builders paying for infrastructure in developments. However, that needs to include additional infrastructure needed to REACH said developments. When people keep building subdivisions on the outside of town, it puts pressure on the freeway (or the transit system in some places) to add capacity. Additional growth closer in is cheaper, because the number of passenger-route-miles needed is less.
    JK: Show us some real numbers from real cities

    EngineerScotty Says: Now if you’re talking about building complete town centers apart from downtown, where most trips are local (and many don’t need a vehicle), that’s another matter. But residential-only subdivisions put a tremendous strain on infrastructure, even if the infrastructure within the subdivision is provided by the builder.
    JK: Show us some real numbers from real cities

    In the meantime, you are just speculating. And trying to deny the fact that small, less dense towns are cheaper than high density towns.

    Thanks
    JK

  20. There is one useful comment to add to Krugman’s analysis (which was written in 2005, before the bubble burst).

    Many of the places where the housing market crashed hardest were places like Arizona and Florida; neither known for their stringent land-use planning.

    Portland’ real estate market didn’t suffer anywhere near as much as these places (or Bend, where the economy is heavily based on tourism).

    But, it is ironic to see JK quoting Krugman…

  21. JK,

    Housing costs less in the suburbs (despite most people living in suburbs and suburban infrastructure being more expensive to create) because suburbs are a commodity in great supply. There is only one Greenwich Village. There is only one Ladd’s Addition. But suburbs are largely interchangeable, and don’t lose their character by expanding out a little further.

  22. There’s a difference between the cost of HOUSING and the cost of INFRASTRUCTURE. Suburban housing is often cheap precisely because much of the infrastructure costs can be externalized–it’s the city or county or water district or transit authority, not the builder, that pays the cost of extending roads and utilities and bus lines and such to the development’s gate. I don’t dispute that housing downtown is going to either be expensive or apartments–land there is at a premium.

    Sprawl does often make for cheap housing–eepecially in places with land to spare, like Houston. But the traffic there sucks, despite having over 700 miles (!) in freeways in the metro area. And guess what? Houston is busy building LRT all over the place. Good for it. :)

  23. Bob R. Says: Glad to know that JK is now a Krugman disciple. Welcome.
    JK: Sorry to disappoint you, but I do not worship personalities. I go by what they say.

    In this case he is right.

    Thanks
    JK

  24. It’s amazing how much Krugman’s name comes up when searching for both him and the Congress for New Urbanism, although apparently the two have never worked together nor directly cited one another. (It’s also amazing that there are no hits for “Congress for New Urbanism” and “Pathological Liars” except for this very post. Way to index rapidly, Google!)

    Of course none of this zoning talk has little to do with how TriMet is to address the impending budget shortfall.

    It should be noted that Eugene’s LTD agency, not known for having a lot of high-density developments, and which has no rail service whatsoever and only one BRT line (currently), is also facing substantial service cuts.

  25. Here is a far more relevant Krugman post from 13 months ago. It’s just a short (but prescient) quip, so I’ll reproduce it in its entirety:

    Sad if true

    The emerging stimulus plan contains surprisingly little funding for mass transit. According to Talking Points Memo, mass transit funding may have been slashed to make room for tax cuts.

    I feel a bit of post-partisan depression coming on.

  26. How about we tell Google that they can come put their new 1Ghbps fiber network in some conduit they can place under our a our bike lanes (or co locate on streetcar/MAX spanwire poles), for 27 million bucks – or more$, or 50 hybrid busses.

    As of today, they are looking for a test city:
    http://www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi/

    I don’t know about you, but i likes me some fast innertrons, and weekend bus service.

  27. JK:“It is not the location, it is the government policies.”

    ws:Even within our growth boundary, location still influences the cost of land thus the cost of housing. Take away a growth boundary and location still has a major influence. The cost of land will always be cheap at urban fringes. The land is unencumbered from previous uses, there is less competition from other developers, and investors can give prices to farmers, etc. that looking appealing to them, but will give them very profits from their development.

    But this type of development has not always proved to “pay for itself”.

  28. JK: It is not the location, it is the government policies. They don’t have Metro’s land rationing which makes a 1/3 acre lot cost more here than a whole house + 1/3 acre in regions without Metro’s rationing (or similar policies).

    The land “rationing” was done to preserve the quality of the land in question. Texas has no need to institute such policies because they have an abundance of land and are willing to live with sprawl.

    JK: No, you always leave out the lack of supply due to Metro’s land supply restrictions which drive up housing costs. 1/3 acre of buildable land here costs more than a house on a 1/3 acre lot in that planned (not government planned!) community in an area without Metro’s land rationing.

    We could go back and forth about this forever. A lack of supply is of no significance at all if there is no demand. Clearly, in Oregon, and specifically in the Portland Metro area, there is a huge demand. There are regions all over the country where you can buy a house for much less money than in Portland–because fewer people wish to buy them.

    Prices are high in New York, San Francisco — many urban areas where demand is high and the supply is limited. Consider Detroit, where the supply is enormous but no one wants to buy because there are no jobs.

    JK: Please quit parroting the crap from the smart growth crowd. The reality is that the Houston area is growing faster than the Portland area. Hence your statement is incorrect. Further their average income is usually higher and their un-employment lower.

    I parrot no one, jk. I observe. Houston’s population has been rising more quickly because the petrochemical industry has provided far more jobs than are available here. Yet in the same period (up until the most recent economic failure), Portland’s population continue to rise because people were choosing to move here, regardless of there being fewer jobs and more expensive property. Why is that?

    The population in the metro region has been projected for years as doubling, in spite of what you claim are the repressive acts of Metro. Why on earth were those people moving here, jk?

  29. >Surely Crokidile Hanson could start with cutting his own pay for not getting his job done!You mean do something of a ‘altruistic’ nature? Hahaha! Fred? Haha!
    “““““““““““
    >While that might be a symbolic gesture, of something, even if he cut his own pay by say $50,000, it wouldn’t even cover 2/10ths of 1% of the budget shortfall.No, but altruism would be nice Bob!
    ““““““““““““““““““
    >Time to get a bicycle, I guess.Actually, a damn good idea, except the weather is so freaking crappy most of the time, a car would be much more “efficient”.
    “““““““““““
    >I’m not saying bus drivers are overpaid but what I am saying is that a small salary or benefit but would cover this shortfall.I’m not against giving some of my salary up, if others of the higher income strata gave up the same PROPORTION of their salary. The health insurance is not bargain able, health coverage is every American’s right, just cause the rest of the country is getting screwed doesn’t mean we should get screwed right a long with them.
    ““““““““““““““““
    >How about adjusting fares to 100% of the actual cost and implement transit vouchers for the needy.Since transit only really serves downtown well, let the downtown pay the actual cost of one cost of their density, instead of externalizing their transport cost of high density to the rest of the region.As we can all see, Mr Karlock has some pretty decent ideas occasionally!
    ““““““““““““
    >its serving the low density areas that’s expensive;
    ~~~>How bout fares based on miles traveled?
    ———-
    >are the suburbs a net BENEFIT to TriMet at the current levels of serviceThe way things are now, the suburbs probably will be better off without Trimet.
    “““““““““““““
    >A big problem that organized labor has–is its lost its moral authority; its argument that it represents the interest of the American worker (as a whole; not just those with union jobs). Scotty, you disappoint me. If one segment of the population has to suffer than all segments should? Is that your argument? THE PRIVATE SECTOR HAS FAILED, TO WIT, THE BANK BAILOUTS. The only thing the government sector is doing right is providing some of us citizens with livable wage jobs with benefits, now you folks want to take that away too!
    “““““““““““““““““
    >When Al is paid more than most of the folks who ride his bus (nothing personal, of course)–that’s a problem.Well, I see your point, but then your theory should be applied to POLICE, FIREMEN, MAYORS, every single person who is employed in service to THE PUBLIC that is being paid less than they are. Don’t just pick on bus drivers here!
    “““““““““““`
    >Well, Scotty, in case Al doesn’t drop by to say anything snarky about your comment,I have been so preoccupied with my own stuff that I just don’t have the time to visit here as often as I would like, I’m gonna have to change that.
    ““““““““““““`
    >Perhaps TriMet should follow Wall Street’s lead and acknowledge that everyone is facing hard times and just pay their employees six to nine-figure “retention bonuses”.This is why I have always like Bob, even when he is admonishing me!
    ““““““““““““““
    >On a more serious note, a “second stimulus” could be implemented which back-stopped the costs of key public services.There is plenty of $$$, “they” just don’t want to give it to transit, especially bus transit, and why is that, cause it serves mostly the poor, and the poor in this country are basically criminals.
    ‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’
    >I’m sure that someone, somewhere, is pouring millions of dollars into developing systems to permit transit vehicles to be operated remotely as well.I suggest you watch the entire Zeitgeist film, and the addendum, that’s exactly what they are doing: http://vimeo.com/9255633
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    OK, I can’t go on any further, reminds me of the old days!

  30. FYI
    When did sprawl start?
    What is wrong with sprawl?
    What role did the car play?

    Find answers on Comcast cable channel 23 at 8:00 PM this Friday when Robert Bruegmann talks about his “A Brief History of Sprawl”

    Thanks
    JK

  31. JK,

    I lived in Houston for six years and certainly found it economically vibrant and full of great opportunities. They don’t worry too much about credentials in Houston; they just want to know if you can do the job.

    That said, it’s a miserable place to live, hot beyond belief because it has 90% humidity so the atmosphere is a gigantic thermal flywheel. As soon as it starts to cool off in the evening the relative humidity reaches 100% and billions upon billions of grams of water condense on every living and non-living thing, each releasing 640 small-c calories of heat. There’s a “floor” of 90 under the temperature from April through October, except for a few hours during thunderstorms.

    There’s no “there” there, so it can grow in every direction without constraint. But a NASTY little secret is the that REALLY rich people live in covenanted neighborhoods like River Oaks or the little “island” towns within the Houston city limits which are VICIOUSLY zoned.

    Jim, if you love it so much I’m certain that they would love to have your can-do Libertarian attitude and skills.

    For myself, I’m happy as a CLAM to pay a big premium for housing in order to live in one of the two small areas of the US that still has a sense of proportion and balance.

    The other one is New England, also very expensive. It’s that old “demand” side.

    And just to get all economic, where the hell do you propose to put those 1/3 acre lots in your Libertarian wet-dream for Portland? In Woodburn?

    You have, I hope, noticed that Portland is afflicted with “topography”, whereas Houston is the very definition of “topography challenged”.

    When my wife and I would drive west on I-10 to go camping on the Edwards plateau (the “hill country”) we’d be ecstatic when we hit the first genuine hill (actually a small valley with SIDES!) a few miles west of Kay at Brookshire.

  32. Please, as much as I frequently disagree with JK, let’s not “go there” with the suggestion that people who think polices of elsewhere ought to be adopted here should move elsewhere.

    There are a number of us, for example, who think we have a lot to learn from transportation, health, and social welfare from other places who don’t have any immediate plans to leave Portland/Oregon/USA.

    That said, my father’s side of the family is from Texas and I have been repeatedly admonished by my 99-year-old grandmother never to move there. I have it on reliable authority that she sits up all night, every night, when I travel there. While certain subsections of San Antonio and Austin are tempting, in the way that anything in a drunken fever dream is tempting, I have no immediate plans to move there either. :-)

  33. JK wrote, regarding my comment that he’d embraced Krugman:

    “Sorry to disappoint you, but I do not worship personalities. I go by what they say.”

    Ahh, well, that’s fantastic. It’s just that I got a little bit confused when you said:

    “For instance, see this Nobel Prize economist’s article:”

    That sure looked a lot like “argumentum ad verecundiam” (argument from authority) to me. After all, if what Krugman said stands by the merit of it’s own logic, why the need to bring up the whole Nobel thing? After all, Obama and Gore also hold Nobel prizes, and I’m reasonably sure, based on your past remarks, that you rarely (if ever) agree with either of them.

    I’m going to go all concern troll on you now: What concerns me, and has concerned me for a long time, is that you appear to argue not based on what you actually believe (not all the time), but rather on what you believe will resonate with an audience, without labeling it as such. Playing devil’s advocate, or playing contrarian, without actually believing such arguments, is an interesting way to enliven a debate, but doing so repeatedly in various public forums where your audience is unknown and lead to irritation and misunderstanding, and leave you wide open for accusations of cherry-picking.

    Better to argue what you actually believe, and if you’re going to cite sources as though they were authoritative, at least cite sources you agree with most of the time. (Or otherwise label the incongruities in advance, for the benefit of the audience.)

    You’re welcome,
    Bob R.

  34. Jeff F Says: The land “rationing” was done to preserve the quality of the land in question. Texas has no need to institute such policies because they have an abundance of land and are willing to live with sprawl.
    JK: You leave out that we also have an abundance of land. The difference is that politicians have created sprawl as an emotional issue to get elected and make their friendly neighborhood land speculators rich at our expense.

    Jeff F Says: A lack of supply is of no significance at all if there is no demand.
    JK: You miss the basic point: price is determined NOT by supply and NOT by demand. Price is determined by the balance or imbalance between supply and demand. To speak of either in isolation is to miss ½ of the picture. In Portland and other supply restircted areas, even moderate demand will (and did) drive up the price.

    Jeff F Says: Clearly, in Oregon, and specifically in the Portland Metro area, there is a huge demand.
    JK: No there isn’t. There is moderate demand and limited supply.

    Jeff F Says: There are regions all over the country where you can buy a house for much less money than in Portland–because fewer people wish to buy them.
    JK: Then why are both Atalanta & Houston fast growing and cheaper? Simple: less restriction on supply, so the suppliers are able to keep up with the demand.

    Jeff F Says: Prices are high in New York, San Francisco — many urban areas where demand is high and the supply is limited.
    JK: You make my point: limited supply in relation to demand causes prices to rise. Why did you disagree above?

    Jeff F Says: I observe. Houston’s population has been rising more quickly because the petrochemical industry has provided far more jobs than are available here.
    JK: While Portland has been kicking out family wage jobs. And is about to kick out a bunch more from the inner SE industrial area. (The Milwaulkie toy train will displace 1000 jobs. How many do you think will relocate here as opposed to more favorable counties/states? Not to mention the condos that the streetcar is supposed to bring.)

    Jeff F Says: The population in the metro region has been projected for years as doubling, in spite of what you claim are the repressive acts of Metro. Why on earth were those people moving here, jk?
    JK: That is merely a projection. There is no reason to believe it is correct in view of our high un-employment and continued discouragement of family wage jobs.

    Thanks
    JK

  35. Bob R. Says: Ahh, well, that’s fantastic. It’s just that I got a little bit confused when you said:

    “For instance, see this Nobel Prize economist’s article:”

    That sure looked a lot like “argumentum ad verecundiam” (argument from authority) to me. After all, if what Krugman said stands by the merit of it’s own logic, why the need to bring up the whole Nobel thing?
    JK: Not really, it was an advertising technique intended to attract the reader’s attention. You should note that Krugman seems pretty good when the writes about economics, but has a habit of thinking he is an expert in other fields and botches it. Many people miss this detail.

    Bob R. Says: After all, Obama and Gore also hold Nobel prizes, and I’m reasonably sure, based on your past remarks, that you rarely (if ever) agree with either of them.
    JK: Big difference.
    Krugman’s prize was awarded by scientists in their field of expertise.
    Obama and Gore received the ONLY Nobel prize selected by politicians, not scientists in their own field.

    Bob R. Says: I’m going to go all concern troll on you now: What concerns me, and has concerned me for a long time, is that you appear to argue not based on what you actually believe (not all the time), but rather on what you believe will resonate with an audience, without labeling it as such.
    JK: I never argue against my beliefs. I do insert things to appeal to the intended reader. And shape the argument to the intended reader’s belief system as any good writer does. Hence I pont out Krugman’s credentials when referring to his writing on an economic matter.

    Bob R. Says: … if you’re going to cite sources as though they were authoritative, at least cite sources you agree with most of the time
    JK: Gee, I think the best sources are those the other side worships, so when I find a supporting fact there I go for it. Often the other side will cite a fact then make an unsupported conclusion, so do not assume I agree with their conclusion just because they have a fact right.

    Thanks
    JK

  36. Maybe if you spent less time “advertising” and even less time assuming that the “other side” “worships” anybody, you’d be more persuasive. The derision just drips from your posts, obscuring any factual arguments that might be hidden within. It’s annoying, counter-productive, and not welcome here.

  37. Big difference. Krugman’s prize was awarded by scientists in their field of expertise.

    Oh, well, if the Nobel Prize is that inconsistent and unreliable of an indicator, then maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t have used it as an “advertisement”.

    I never argue against my beliefs

    Never? Less than a year ago you were arguing:

    More good news: BHO is reportedly set to mandate automobile efficiency standards of 47mpg average.

    You’ve often presented yourself as a Libertarian (little l and Big L), and you’ve even run for office on the party ticket. I have a real hard time believing that you genuinely support government mandates on private automakers for fuel efficiency.

    Further, you argue against light rail in many forums by stating how much cheaper (you say) TriMet’s bus service is to operate. You frequently refer to the “cheapest bus line”. And yet, in other forums and threads, you argue for the elimination of publicly-subsidized transit service.

    It’s fine to argue for the elimination of public transit, if that’s what you believe. But don’t go around arguing against light rail transit by highlighting public bus transit, if in fact you don’t want public bus transit either.

    The list goes on and on, but this is _way_ off topic and a distraction for this forum. Stick to the original topic and refrain from further meta-arguments.

  38. JK: You leave out that we also have an abundance of land. The difference is that politicians have created sprawl as an emotional issue to get elected and make their friendly neighborhood land speculators rich at our expense.

    At which point we clearly reach an impasse. Having lived in and passed through areas in which urban sprawl is predominant, I see it as a very real problem, while you dismiss it out of hand as an “emotional issue to get elected”.

    Houston, Phoenix, LA — I find them hideous and dehumanizing. I don’t need a planner or a politician to convince me of that, jk, I can see it with my own eyes. Things really are better here, and good planning is integral to that.

  39. JK:“No there isn’t. There is moderate demand and limited supply.”

    ws:There’s not a limited supply of housing. In fact, there’s too much. Growth boundaries can increase housing costs, but ours does not reveal that. It was a bunch of real estate speculation.

    There is not a lack of housing in Portland. We’re not San Francisco yet.

  40. Here’s a short article about transit cuts in Eugene in today’s Daily Journal of Commerce:

    LTD proposes eliminating about 11 different bus routes and rerouting existing bus routes to cover service gaps. It will also reduce frequency along some routes. The changes would be rolled out in phases in June 2010, Sept. 2010, Jan. 2011 and June 2011.

  41. Those same clowns at Metro (and their clones around the county) actually caused the housing bubble and thus almost brought down the world financial system. For instance, see this Nobel Prize economist’s article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/08/opinion/08krugman.html

    It’s interesting that his piece focuses mostly on San Diego, considering a large amount of their growth was redevelopment of downtown, infill along the I-5, I-8 and I-15 corridors, the Golden Triangle and other developed areas. The South Bay, Carmel Mountain, and Carmel Valley were the only major recent expansions, and they’re not that much of the overall developed land there. There was a bit of suburban growth over the past decade or so, but the vast majority in the last boom wasn’t sprawl, since they’ve been running out of areas that are able to be built out due to terrain problems.

    North County had a lot of suburban growth, but those areas are almost completely unzoned. Overall zoning has little to do with growth anywhere in most of Southern California as much as infrastructure availability (traffic and water impacts are taken seriously, as they should be), a lot of mountainous terrain, military bases, and FAA height restrictions and safety buffers for the many military and civilian airports.

    Zoning in San Diego County is mostly paying for expected traffic impacts and paying to help make sure the region is expected to have enough water for the development. Then when you sell it you have to tack on another $5000 or so development fee per unit. It’s rare a development isn’t approved if it meets/pays for the traffic and water impact.

    The biggest problem they ran into there wasn’t zoning related; it was too many investors were buying multiple houses, renting them out to others for a year or two, and expecting to flip them. When the city started losing population and their mortgage rates readjusted a lot of people ended up spread way too thin holding $2 million+ of real estate they had to pay for but only were making $50,000 a year and couldn’t find renters who would pay enough.

    The final nail in the coffin was condo conversions without new apartments being built. The surplus of housing really started when too many people were priced out of town by the greed of speculators, starting a spiral of problems for the region even before the credit crisis.

    His overall point was kind of right, but he picked quite a bad example to make a point about zoning being the cause. People just got way too greedy always expecting the prices to rise long enough to flip one more house or condo.

  42. Dave H Says: People just got way too greedy always expecting the prices to rise long enough to flip one more house or condo.
    JK: That is just human nature. We need to learn that lesson and adjust accordingly.

    The real sequence is that zoning caused a shortage which caused prices to rise which attracted speculators which increased demand far above what the government imposed limits allowed so the prices shot up.

    In the absence of, mostly government caused, shortages the prices did not shoot up because the supply kept prices low so that speculators were not attracted to cause a spiral.

    Thanks
    JK

  43. [Moderator: Further off-topic counter-arguing (including mis-attributed quotes, for that matter) to moderator’s admonishment of JK removed. Plenty has been said already. – Bob R.]

  44. If this has gotta happen, I would also at the same time appreciate if TriMet would drop their “frequent service” bs. I notice the line outside my front door (75 39th) is scheduled to take yet another hit on weekends, just a few weeks after our so-called “frequent service” line (one of the reasons I chose to live along 39th) has gone from a 15-minute line to an 18-minute line (in reality, it’s more like “2 minutes early, 6 minutes late”, for a mostly real-world-24-minute-or-so line when you need it).

    At the rate we’re going, how long will it be until “Green City USA” fully regresses to having a ‘transit system’ comparable to Tulsa or Phoenix? Yeah, I’m a little bitter right now. Excuse me…

    Ah, but I suppose I should take solace in the fact that people near Tampa will soon have a high-speed rail line line to DisneyWorld. America in a nutshell, right there. Our priorities…

  45. After reading all these comments, I have not seen much in the way of constructive suggestions for raising money for transit.

    Raising fares prices the poor out of their only transportation, and giving them vouchers requires a bureaucracy that would cost even more. Cutting TM salaries and wages would be very difficult. Various tax proposals are either unconstitutional or assumed not to be passable.

    Restricting the service area to the city limits or some other area would mean giving up the payroll taxes in that area and may cost more than it saves. It would require a state law change, wouldn’t it?

    Finding another local revenue source when payroll taxes go down would mean increasing the proportion of local wealth that goes to TM. In other words, TriMet would get a larger share of our reduced economic resources.

    I am not sure that TriMet is loved enough for the people to consent to that. We might do that for libraries, or for something else that the voters have nice warm sentiments about. Preserving open reservoirs might fit into that category. I don’t sense a lot of love for TriMet. There is no feeling that frequent bus service is a symbol of our good life.

    We may be stuck with service cuts as the answer.

  46. How about requiring that Tri-Met put a portion of its payroll tax revenues — say 2% or 3% — into a “cushion” or reserve fund whenever unemployment is low, and allow them to tap the reserve when unemployment is high? It might smooth things out a bit over the long run.

  47. TriMet continues to be a bottomless pit that gobbles up taxpayer dollars like a drunken sailor spends money. Overall sustainability can not be achieved without financial sustainability that is absent of taxpayer funded subsidies. Therefore, the only equitable way for TriMet to maintain a sustainable budget is to establish COST OF SERVICE fares system wide with no more free rides anywhere. Such a move will then require TriMet to become more accountable, eliminate the frills, and deliver only the most cost effective service and modes to customers.

    The present and bloated three bureaucracy mentality – Metro for regional transportation planning, the City of Portland with its unaffordable streetcar plans and TriMet planning the actual service – needs to be all combined under one elected body umbrella. This too must be system wide and regional, and must bring more accountability to taxpayers with all mega-projects such as any Max, streetcar and bicycle planning proposals subject to approval by the voters. Also, needed is accountability of the facts instead of just all hype such as stating a specific dollar amount of development has occurred that is directly attributed to that streetcar with no actual definitive proof.

  48. Here is the one easiest way to stop service cuts.

    Stop bulding billion-dollar light rail lines that serve about 20,000 people, if even that.

  49. But LRT (once built) moves more people for less money. Cost per boarding ride for busses is almost $3, cost per boarding ride for MAX is only $2.

    MAX moves people for less money. It costs money to build, of course, but most (if not all) of that money isn’t available for operations.

    Now if you want to argue that MAX lines represent a shift of transit dollars away from the inner city to places further out, I’ll agree with that. Whether this is the right course of action, I’ll punt for now… but I remain convinced that the whole bus/MAX debate (I will ignore the Streetcar, as its a separate issue from MAX) is really a who-should-get-service debate.

  50. Well, I may agree with that, but personally, if we don’t have money for buses, we don’t have money for new MAX lines…

  51. The better way to frame the question is:

    We don’t have enough money to provide the level of transit service we would like.

    How should the funds we DO have be allocated?

  52. JK: The real sequence is that zoning caused a shortage…

    Please reread my post to understand how zoning is not a relevant argument when talking about San Diego’s housing prices after their early-90’s drop. Lack of land that can be built on (due to terrain, military land ownership, flight paths, a big ocean to the west, and an international border to the south) and infrastructure limitations (not enough roads/water to make many development opportunities feasible) played a part in driving up prices. Not zoning.

    Jay: At the rate we’re going, how long will it be until “Green City USA” fully regresses to having a ‘transit system’ comparable to Tulsa or Phoenix?

    Phoenix just opened their starter 20 mile LRT line in 2008, and its first extension is under construction with a number more expansions planned. I’ve also read they’re investing in improving their bus service as well. I don’t see us dropping to Tulsa’s level anytime soon though.

    Cameron: Well, I may agree with that, but personally, if we don’t have money for buses, we don’t have money for new MAX lines…

    Maybe part of the solution is to ask our state reps to push to allow TriMet to use federal funds currently designated for new projects for operations? I doubt we could get national support for such a change, but it’s one option.

    I have to wonder if we could remove some stops so buses could complete a route faster, especially in areas where buses overlap, hopefully allowing enough time per route saved to minimize cuts, or at least make a 20 minute wait more worth it by having a shorter ride. Some routes seem to stop every block in areas where other lines also run. I’d think there are a number of bus stops that could be condensed so hopefully we could maximize the driver’s time.

    If we have to cut service we should look at how to we cheaply improve what we have, like removing a few of the redundant downtown MAX stops.

  53. I believe TriMet has a long-term process to improve bus-stop spacing. A couple of years ago they came through my section of 60th, and while at the same time converting to the new-style bus stop signs, also changed the spacing from roughly 2 blocks to 3 blocks. Would speeding up the implementation of such a program help with the current shortfall, enough to save a bus line or preserve true “frequent service” on another? Sounds pretty marginal to me. But then, if 100 marginal efficiency improvements could be identified for rapid implementation, a dent could be made…

  54. Dave H: I have to wonder if we could remove some stops so buses could complete a route faster, especially in areas where buses overlap, hopefully allowing enough time per route saved to minimize cuts, or at least make a 20 minute wait more worth it by having a shorter ride. Some routes seem to stop every block in areas where other lines also run. I’d think there are a number of bus stops that could be condensed so hopefully we could maximize the driver’s time.

    There has been an ongoing “streamlining” project to improve stop spacing for some time, and I listened to a discussion of this very suggestion earlier this week. As it turns out, at some point improvements get canceled out by the increased dwell time at stops which now have more people boarding.

    [Moderator: Per Jeff’s request (see below), please disregard discussion of dwell time. – Bob R.]

  55. [Moderator: Per Jeff’s request (see below), please disregard this Q&A exchange. – Bob R.]

    Jeff –

    Is that because if only one or two people board at a stop, the driver can close the doors and move on while fare is collected, but when a line forms, fare payment must be completed until the last person has room to board? Or is there another factor?

  56. [Moderator: Per Jeff’s request (see below), please disregard this Q&A exchange. – Bob R.]

    Bob R: Is that because if only one or two people board at a stop, the driver can close the doors and move on while fare is collected, but when a line forms, fare payment must be completed until the last person has room to board? Or is there another factor?

    I didn’t think to ask that particular question, but I believe the issue was simply that it takes longer to board five people than it does to board two.

  57. (The following information is provided for informational purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the views of Portland Transport)

    Oh no, a political website is calling for a transit riders transit service summit: ;)
    http://h1.ripway.com/electjb/Release0210.html

    Also, Transit Riders Union still meets weekly, Noon on Saturdays, at the Chit-Chat Cafe, SW 6th Ave. & SW Hall St. in Downtown Portland. TRU contacted the Oregonian that one person “merged” with OPAL (not the entire group), as they reported on Thursday.

  58. Jason, for whatever reason, MYWOT (web of trust) gives your website an extremely unsafe rating. More than 50 comments about malware, phishing and viruses. You may want to look into that.

  59. Jason,

    It’s worth pointing out that several years ago, when Portland Public Schools was having a budget crisis of its own, the City of Portland essentially bailed it out with a bunch of $$$ from Portland’s general fund–this despite the fact that PPS (like TriMet) is a separate entity from the City of Portland.

    And the public schools, being funded from property taxes rather than payroll taxes, have an even more stable funding base than does TriMet–which sees revenues rise and fall with the economy.

  60. Jason, for whatever reason, MYWOT (web of trust) gives your website an extremely unsafe rating.
    It’s on free webspace anybody can sign up for (like Geocities, except that’s gone). So some rating like that is probably from someone who signed up and used it for the wrong purposes. I wrote the HTML for the pages, uploaded them myself, and know there’s nothing bad on it. Besides, one goes online in general at their own risk and expense anyhow.

    BTW, last night (Saturday) I was on the 7:33 #32 to Oregon City TC last night after a basketball game. I was the only person to ride almost the entire way, the other riders got on or off somewhere along the route.

  61. Jason, I only mentioned the rating because I thought you might want to encourage potential voters to visit. If you don’t care whether they’re warned off, no problem.

  62. Hi Jason –

    I checked out the link you provided, and did not detect the server attempting to insert anything into your code or deliver any ads/pop-ups, etc., but the server was very slow to respond and reset the connection without delivering any data on the first attempt.

    If you’re in the market for paid hosting and want to support a local business, I have a few clients running sites over at Canvas Dreams, who has $7.50/month plans. (Disclaimer: I get a kickback for sign-ups that come via my affiliate link, but here is a commission-free link for you):

    http://www.canvasdreams.com/

    Canvas Dreams purchases wind power and takes other steps toward being a “green” hosting provider.

    Sorry for the commercial plug, just thought that you’d like to consider something other than the free host. People with the MYWOT plug-in or similar utilities will see a big red warning when they visit your current site.

  63. We’re getting a little close to the line here, so let me remind everyone that discussion of candidate campaign is not compatible with Portland Transport’s 503(c)(3) status.

  64. Just finished riding the 45 and their was a TriMet customer service rep handing out flyers regarding the proposed cuts. He got an ear-full from one rider who was complaining about cuts to the 12. Tough gig if you ask me. He handled it well. Tried to read his name badge. Grant, I believe.

  65. [Moderator: Per Jeff’s request, please disregard this Q&A exchange. – Bob R.]

    Bob R: Is that because if only one or two people board at a stop, the driver can close the doors and move on while fare is collected, but when a line forms, fare payment must be completed until the last person has room to board? Or is there another factor?

    I didn’t think to ask that particular question, but I believe the issue was simply that it takes longer to board five people than it does to board two.

    And, as it turns out, my informant was wrong and someone with much better data and understanding of that data just told me in no uncertain terms.

    Feel free to delete the entire exchange of bad info.

  66. [Moderator: Per Jeff’s request, please disregard this Q&A exchange. – Bob R.]
    Please inform us as to the “much better data and understanding ” so that we may learn.

    Thanks
    JK

  67. The more often the bus stops, the slower the overall rate of progress. Thus the motivation to spaces stop a bit further apart. It’s slightly less convenient for riders, but speeds the overall trip. The challenge is to find the sweet spot, where you maximize rate of progress without losing riders because access is too inconvenient.

    Streetcar is at the extreme end of the scale on this, the stops were spaced every two blocks to maximize access and convenience, and we pay something of a price in slower travel.

    The Streetcar Loop is learning from this and using a stop spacing of 3-4 blocks.

  68. Right, but I think what JK is asking, and what hasn’t been cleared up with or without my Q&A with Jeff, is this:

    Setting aside the issue of losing ridership once stops are spaced too far apart, is there another factor at play where having a queue of several people at infrequently-spaced bus stops actually takes longer to serve than individuals boarding at more closely-spaced bus stops?

  69. Bob R.: Setting aside the issue of losing ridership once stops are spaced too far apart, is there another factor at play where having a queue of several people at infrequently-spaced bus stops actually takes longer to serve than individuals boarding at more closely-spaced bus stops?

    Sorry to leave that hanging. The single most important factor is stopping and starting at the bus stop and picking up the first passenger. According to the data analyst, any added time from additional passengers was insignificant.

  70. Sorry to leave that hanging. The single most important factor is stopping and starting at the bus stop and picking up the first passenger. According to the data analyst, any added time from additional passengers was insignificant.

    Makes sense, if a bus can keep moving at 20 mph, or drop to 0, load someone, and then needs to get back up to 20 mph it seems it would take a bit more time (and fuel, another costly part of transit) than doing so 1/3 or 1/4 as often.

  71. The Streetcar Loop is learning from this and using a stop spacing of 3-4 blocks.

    Chris,

    If the wider stop spacing is deemed a success, do you think the city will consider removing some of the stops from the original alignment?

  72. I once suggested removing a stop in my own neighborhood in NW and was nearly ridden out on a rail.

    Each stop has developed its own constituency. I think it would be VERY, VERY difficult to remove any.

    And in many cases the ‘right’ thing to do would be to close down two stops and replace them with one in-between – very expensive.

  73. Well, I may agree with that, but personally, if we don’t have money for buses, we don’t have money for new MAX lines…

    That line of thinking makes perfect sense 99.9% of the time, but in the case of transit in the United States, it can be (and often is) entirely false. It’s a clear indication of why our approach to funding transit across the board — capital expenses, operations, the whole enchilada — needs to be re-examined.

    Any initiative to raise taxes or other public funding for TriMet right now is sure to be met with criticisms of new “toys” like WES and Green Line as counterarguments to TriMet’s pleas… and those arguments resonate with the general public, since that’s how they’d probably run their own finances. If you don’t have money to pay the electric bill, you’re not going to put in a pool and a new addition, and yet that’s what most of the public thinks TriMet is up to.

    If this has gotta happen, I would also at the same time appreciate if TriMet would drop their “frequent service” bs.

    Agreed. If TriMet is going to go through this cutting business, then it’s time for some humility at the same time, for a couple of reasons. One, if you claim that you’re the best system around after a couple rounds of painful cuts, then that essentially says that you were bloated prior to the cuts, which isn’t accurate.

    Two, I think the public could use a good dose of marketing reality from a government agency. Instead of marketing “Frequent Service”, change it to “Not bad, but slower than 2 years ago”. I’d love to see an agency like TriMet just put it out there for the public to see — don’t sugar coat it.

    How can we get TriMet to drop “See where it takes you” and replace it with “Well, at least it’s quicker than walking”?

  74. Suppose as a community we decided it was time to do something else. How would we raise more revenue for transit operations…
    From the department of “they’re doing this in the Puget Sound area, so it must be true:”
    http://seattletransitblog.com/2010/02/26/bake-sales-for-transit/

    And, something I’m surprised nobody anywhere has said… why isn’t there a tax on political contributions?! We have excise taxes on things like gas and utilities because we live in a country that gives citizens the right to purchase these things, and we have sin taxes on alcohol because we know there’s better things for people to throw their money away on (but they do it anyway)! I’m thinking a 50% excise tax on political contributions and a 50% sin tax on political contributions, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2009, would get everything back in shape real quick!

  75. I keep thinking back to an article I saw about San Diego looking at taking corporate sponsorships of stops, stations and entire lines. I know there are ads at stops sometimes, but what about offering entire sponsorship of a stop, with exclusive branding and advertising space at the stop?

    Maybe to copy the streetcar made locally and allow companies to sponsor a specific vehicle inside and out? I know Portland’s probably not the best market and some people might be offended, it might be a good way to add to the operational funding bucket and avoid some service cuts.

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