Two TriMet-related editorials in the morning paper

This morning’s Oregonian has two editorials (one a guest submission, one by one of the paper’s regulars) on the subject of TriMet.

The guest editorial, by Craig Boretz, Randy Miller and Angus Duncan, deals with TriMet’s funding crisis. It calls for further “restructuring” of the labor agreements, including withdrawal of mandatory arbitration. But it also calls for improving the agency’s funding model–including increased revenue sources–but the latter is contingent on the former.

The other article, by conservative columnist Elizabeth Hovde, deals with the YouthPass brouhaha. She makes the surprising (but spot-on) observation:

The state, along with TriMet, has been taking a beating for the fact that other school districts have yellow bus service for high school students, but PPS does not. In reality, we should be searching to see if there are ways to make other districts look more like Portland when it comes to transportation, not the other way around.

And concludes with

Since transportation takes such a huge bite out of state and district education budgets, before insisting that transportation be provided, we might consider placing the duty of getting one’s children to school on families — no matter a student’s age. After all, a lot of families get kids to jobs, soccer practices, birthday parties and other activities. Surely we should be able to work out carpools, joint walks or bus passes to get our kids to one of the most important things that children do.

I expect the latter to be met with howls of outrage from suburban and rural constituents–in the countryside, in particular, the journey from home to school may be one of many miles–but money spent on public transportation goes much further if it is spent in places where there is higher density. Rural yellow-bus service is very expensive to provide.

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