Many of the right wing/corporate apologists love to place all the blame of the 'death spiral' on employee benefits. People that follow transit issues in the Portland area know that is only once piece of the causation of Trimet's plunge into the death spiral.
Mcfarlane, Oregon's answer to Scott Walker, had made attacks on employee benefits the hallmark of his authoritarian rule.
The actual truth is that Mcfarlane himself, being a big player in bringing the rail obsession to Portland, is himself responsible for much of Trimet's current death spiral.
Personally, I see very dark days ahead for the once highly regarded transit system known as Trimet. In turns of absolute numbers, the rail expansion has destroyed Trimet.
Bad management and a sock puppet board of directors has directly lead to where we are now.
ELECTION: “STOP PORTLAND CREEP” RESONATES IN SUBURBS
by Wendell Cox 11/09/2012 in newgeorgrphy .com
Election results from all three of Portland, Oregon’s largest
suburban counties indicate a reaction against what has been called
“Portland Creep,” the expansion of the expansive light rail system
without voter approval and the imposition of restrictive densification
measures by Metro, the regional land-use agency.
Portlanders in the three largest Oregon counties (Multnomah,
Washington and Clackamas) have previously voted against financing light
rail extensions, however the transit agency has found ways to continue
the expansion and now operates five lines, with a six under
construction. While urban rail aficionados tout the success of the
Portland system, transit use by commuters has fallen significantly in
relative terms from before the opening of the first light rail line. At
the same time, working at home, which does not need billions in taxpayer
subsidies, has caught up to and passed transit (Figure).
The electoral events of the past 60 days could severely limit future expansion.