The Question I Plan to Ask at City Club Tonight

Tonight, City Club is hosting a discussion of their new report, “Moving Forward: A Better Way to Govern Regional Transportation.” (PDF, 5.5M)

[5:30pm at the Club offices, 901 SW Washington]

There’s one recommendation that has generated a bit of controversy:

Voting Power on JPACT

  1. The elected officials of cities and counties on JPACT should be its only voting members, and their votes should be weighted in proportion to the population they represent residing within the Metro UGB. The Metro councilors and Oregon and Washington
    agency representatives on JPACT should become non-voting members.

This has me, and some others, scratching their heads a bit. The stated reason for this recommendation is:

The members of the Metro Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) are selected in a way that gives too much weight to Metro councilors and Washington state and agency representatives, and does not proportionately represent the residents of the Metro Region.

But as someone who’s been to more than a few JPACT meetings (for three years, I served on TPAC, the technical advisory committee to JPACT) I wonder about the impact. My observation of JPACT is that the local government representatives sometimes focus more on making sure they bring dollars back to their jurisdiction than about how the regional transportation system functions. The polite label for this behavior is “ensuring geographic equity.”

The folks City Club would disenfranchise are exactly the players at the table most focused on making the regional system work, which is the major theme of the remainder of recommendations in the report.

How do we reconcile this apparent contradiction? I’ll be asking tonight.

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