Sunday, August 23, 2015
BS article attempting to convince us of the wonderfulness of Trimet and that Mcfarlane is a great leader
Portland once expanded outward, gobbling up stumpy land turned to farms. Then it filled in side to side, growing sleepy outposts into industrial and technology-making hubs ringed by suburban housing developments. In recent years, many of its new commercial structures have aimed skyward. Few can dispute that the city has become something of a boutique celebrated nationally for avoiding the sprawl of, say, Houston, while creating a textured place with a personality of its own.(Portland has become the hub of white privilege and gentrification)
But Portland and its environs, substantially contained by the Urban Growth Boundary, is now a packed, groaning setting in which old streets, highways and bridges jam up with traffic for no apparent reason other than their reached capacity and plain inadequacy. Most every day, thousands of Portlanders -- mainly those in automobiles -- are made unhappy in their efforts to get around.
Caught in the squeeze is the agency TriMet, which sends buses and trains throughout the region in an effort to keep people moving. On a good day, it works. Often, though, delays and forced rerouting frustrate riders who are made late for work or derailed from errands. The agency reckons, correctly, that if the region is to expand by 400,000 people and 260,000 jobs in the next 20 years,(that's nothing but a guess and makes a great argument in favor of this tax increase) as the regional government Metro predicts it will, something has to give – and that's to say nothing of people stuck in cars wondering why the Oregon Legislature failed this year to pass a transportation improvement package.
Next month, TriMet's board of directors will decide (The Trimet board of directors are nothing but sock puppets that do whatever the general manager tells them to do)whether to charge more money from Portland businesses, already subsidizing about 56 percent of TriMet's half-billion-dollar budget through a regionwide payroll tax, to expand service. While the money ask starts out small, it escalates over 10 years to trigger an increase of $500 over the current $3,619 paid against a payroll of $500,000 -- a solid jump for any small firm working on thin margins.
Separately but significantly, TriMet has been busy living itself down. In recent years the agency has suffered in the public's eye for lavish, unsustainable health and retirement benefits to drivers and their families;(Nothing but a lie, the health benefits were above average but the retirement pay is much worse than PERS) a legacy of front-office privilege that included hefty compensation packages for executives;(this is certainly true, and is still true nothing has changed in this regard) pushback from some suburban leaders who argued MAX trains were efficient first for exporting downtown street-style crime to leafy neighborhoods; and the suspicion, as suggested by the charter-amending cities of Tigard and Tualatin, that TriMet is something of a Metro tool waiting to roar through with the next MAX train after winning a mere nod of approval from local elected officials.
Accountability would be ensured by the inclusion of a five-year review clause on any new payroll tax hike.(what a freaking joke this is, ridiculous pandering to the citizens when we all know there will be no real 'review')
A century ago, it was possible to address congestion as a discreet challenge, because there was room to do so. Not now. TriMet's play for more money requires coordination with city, county, state and federal partners who control the narrow roadways and bridges that TriMet uses. So TriMet's ambitious, planned creation of bus rapid transit lines along Southeast Powell Boulevard and Division Street,(really, all they need on this corridor is five minute bus service, no construction needed) for example, will not only cost a lot of money but require a braiding of efforts and money streams from multiple agencies – along with good will from the public and a belief by Portland employers that their needs will be met.
Editorial Agenda 2015
The good news is that TriMet has done a solid job of tightening up its operations under its general manager since 2010, Neil McFarlane.(This is the same man who STOLE raises for himself and all his hand picked cronies while cutting services, raising fares, and cutting employees) A near-intractable dispute with the union representing drivers and mechanics found resolution in diminished benefits, most of all for new employees. Result: Agency revenues are more in line with expenses, though long-term commitments remain daunting. Separately, McFarlane has in the last year paid respect not only to fare-paying riders who have opinions about service enhancements but to Portland's businesses by sounding them out on the proposed payroll tax hike. He is credited for heeding a very recent wish by the Portland Business Alliance that the collection and distribution of revenue from any new tax hike undergo review after five years to ensure the additional revenue is necessary and spent in a manner that helps people not only get around but get to work.(Here he brings up 'the review'again)
If Portland's population expansion is to be attended by commensurate economic growth and an assured quality of life, then TriMet must be up to the task and expand its services – including the creation of bus connections well outside the urban core. Doing so, however, will require continued rigor in the agency's operations as well as more money to make more buses and trains fit within a relatively fixed infrastructure.
The Legislature authorized TriMet in 2009 to boost the employer tax rate. But the agency decided to wait out the recession as well as get its house in order – a wise move that bespeaks accountability. Now, with a five-year review clause attached to any new payroll tax hike, TriMet's riders and tax-paying employers can continue to have confidence promises will be kept. The agency's appointed board can show responsiveness to all stakeholders by making it so.(The board is going to give Mcfarlane what he wants the tax payers be dammed)
TriMet must expand along with the Portland region: Editorial Agenda 2015 | OregonLive.com