Transportation:

Orange Blossom Special

Orange Blossom Special

Originally published in the May issue of Northwest Connection — Light Rail Returns to Clackamas County Ballot – Another in a series of culminating moments will take place on May 21, when Clackamas County voters will again weigh the fate of Portland Milwaukie Light Rail. But even if the vote on Measure 3-424 is numerically […]

Can Voters Slow Creeping Light Rail?

Can Voters Slow Creeping Light Rail?

Originally published in Northwest Connection — Sometimes you have to vote in order to secure the right to vote. That’s exactly what will happen when Clackamas County voters go to the polls for a special election on September 18. A Yes on Measure 3-401 is a vote to require countywide electoral approval for any expenditure […]

The Environmental Justice Roadblock

The Environmental Justice Roadblock

In the first of a series in The Washington Times, Katherine Timpf writes about an obscure executive order that is already having dramatic impacts on the ability of state and local government to move forward with transportation projects.  Read Timpf’s article here.

TriMet’s Sinking Ship

TriMet’s Sinking Ship

Cascade Policy Institute’s John Charles explains how TriMet is achieving insolvency, one step at a time.  It’s a good thing they don’t operate boats, or they would be literally sinking.

Tea and Discontent

Tea and Discontent

Clackamas County Electoral Challenges Mirror Dynamic of National Election — From the May Northwest Connection   There was a time, back before the Great Recession, when adherents of a green, “sustainable,” and quasi-Socialist environmental agenda made significant inroads into Clackamas County. Small groups of conservative watchdogs, like the members of Americans for Prosperity Clackamas and […]

For Whom Does Metro Speak?

For Whom Does Metro Speak?

Originally published in The Oregonian — 03-29-12 – Suburbanites trip up Meetro’s regional light-rail, development vision – In response to the signature-gathering in Clackamas County to refer the county’s funding of the Milwaukie light-rail line to the voters, Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette, who represents part of that county, was quoted as saying, “We work hard […]

The Best European City in America

The Best European City in America

Dave Lister writes in today’s Oregonian about former Portland Mayor Vera Katz’s endorsement of mayoral candidate Charlie Hales.  Both, says Lister, want Portland to be the best European city in America.  Hale’s record tells us that it will all be done with rails — though not to Lake Oswego and maybe not to Clackamas.

The Challenge of Making Sense out of Milwaukie Light Rail

The Challenge of Making Sense out of Milwaukie Light Rail

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE NORTHWEST CONNECTION – It’s enough to boggle your mind, the machination-and-response dynamic surrounding the issue of Milwaukie Light Rail. And then you get to the dollars. $25 million laid out in promises, $47 million taken in prospective property taxes. Shortfalls, obligations, and projected costs. Wing-and-a-prayer revenue forecasts. Depleted government services vying against a “green,” sustainable, Euro-Socialist-inspired transportation system. There’s got to be a billion+ in there somewhere. […]

METRO Says It’s Ready to Listen – So Let’s Speak Up

Originally published on Oregonlive.com 08/04/11 by Dave Lister – Of all the arms of local government none are regarded by conservatives with more mistrust than Metro, the region’s odd, elected governmental overlay. Born of Oregon’s 30-year-old system of centralized land-use planning, touted at the time as the way of the future but yet to be […]

CRAZY TRAIN

CRAZY TRAIN

CLOCK TICKING ON PETITION DRIVE TO STOP URBAN RENEWAL PLAN -  From the August Northwest Connection Who loves you, baby? If you’re part of the governmental and bureaucratic nexus building Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail and trying to tack an urban renewal district at the end of the line, paramours are getting hard to come by. Popular […]

A Half Billion Short on the Columbia River Crossing: Were There Any Adults in the Room?

A Half Billion Short on the Columbia River Crossing: Were There Any Adults in the Room?

A popular claim among politicians these days is to be “the only adult in the room.”  Just a way of making clear that the other parties to a dispute are irresponsible and inexperienced. The latest in the never-ending saga of the Columbia River Crossing (these used to be called bridges) makes clear that there have […]

Transportation: From the Top Down or Bottom Up?

Originally published 05/25/11 on HuffingtonPost.com, by Randal O’Toole. Should transportation be funded and planned from the top down or bottom up? Top-down advocates, such as the Brookings Institution’s Robert Puentes (writing in the May 23, 2011 Wall Street Journal) argue that only central planners can have a “clear-cut vision for transportation” that will allow them to target spending […]

Amtrak Chugs Deeper Into the Red

05/11/11 by JOSH MITCHELL, Wall Street Journal. Amtrak’s financial losses are projected to widen this year despite rising ridership, the top executive of the government-subsidized rail system said Tuesday. Amtrak blames the red ink on rising compensation costs for union workers and increased costs for fuel.  Read more…

The Great Train Con

05/12/11 by Randal O’Toole, The Michigan View. When U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced this week that he was awarding Michigan nearly $200 million for high-speed rail, he claimed that the project would bring “trains up to speeds of 110 mph on a 235-mile section of the Chicago to Detroit corridor, reducing trip times […]

Obama’s Mileage Tax an Unfair Burden to the Poor and Middle Class

Obama’s Mileage Tax an Unfair Burden to the Poor and Middle Class

[photo: Karin Dalziel] In the ironically titled Transportation Opportunities Act, the Obama Administration has proposed a new tax on miles traveled.  The proposal is based on a Congressional Budget Office Study commissioned by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat.  The rationale of the proposed new tax is explained in the abstract […]

Obama’s Trains Run Over State Budgets

Obama’s Trains Run Over State Budgets

[Photo: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times] President Obama loves trains.  In fact he wants the nation to invest $53 billion in high speed rail over the next five years.  This would come on the heels of $10.5 billion already spent pursuant to the economic stimulus bill of two years ago.  “My high-speed rail proposal will […]

High-Speed Pork

02/14/11, by Randal O’Toole, The National Review (Online). President Obama’s high-speed-rail proposal will, over the course of six years, pour $53 billion of taxpayer money into a megaproject that produces little value for the vast majority of Americans. It uses the classic pork-barrel strategy of starting a program small and then expanding it after Congress, […]

It’s Time to End Amtrak Funding

02/06/11 by Randal O’Toole, Cato.org. I love passenger trains, but I don’t think other taxpayers should have to subsidize my hobby. Train travel has declined for good reason: Trains are slower than flying, less convenient than driving, and far more expensive than either. Per passenger mile, Amtrak fares average twice as much as airfares or […]