Looking for Facts on Portland’s Light Rail

by lewwaters

Portland’s light rail being forced upon Clark County is and has been a very contentious matter for a number of years. Supporters want us to believe how beneficial it will be while opponents see it for what it is, an expensive boondoggle set to bankrupt our struggling community.

Efforts to shine some light on the CRC has been met with extreme opposition, often to the point of disgust from supporters in elected office who make decisions pertaining to extending it a short distance into our community.

Throughout it all, facts have been ignored, glossed over, and labeled lies, to the point of ridiculing any that would dare shine some light on the project. Most notable would be when Vancouver’s mayor, ‘Teflon’ Tim ‘the liar’ Leavitt’s effort to silence critics from speaking in opposition before City Council.

Facts are out there and through the efforts of David Madore’s Couv.com are continuing to be presented to the voting and taxpaying public. The latest effort to come from Couv.com will be a series of factual presentations in video format, beginning with Portland Light Rail: Tracking the Facts [pt. 1].

Madore, who overwhelmingly won his bid to unseat County Commissioner Marc Boldt recently, or whoever is managing Couv.com now said,

“COUV.COM is proud to present a new video series, “Portland Light Rail: Tracking the facts”. In this series, we explore the 26 year history of Portland’s highly criticized light rail system, and hypothesize how Portland’s light rail can affect the surrounding metro area. Transportation experts John Charles, Gerard Mildner, Ph.D and Michael Ennis reveal key facts about Portland’s Light rail system, and offer fresh solutions for a sustainable future.”

The first video shows just how expensive it is becoming to build light rail, somehow the extension planned for coming across the Columbia River being even more expensive per mile than any of the current or proposed line extensions within Oregon.

Couv.com

The public being presented with real facts and not just starry eyed projections has been sorely lacking throughout the years public tax dollars have been poured into the massive planning for the project. Our own so called newspaper of record has shown an unwillingness to present anything other than glowing reports and denigration of any effort to give the public actual facts on this project.

Only the Willamette Week has had the consistency of seeking facts and presenting them to the public so we can make informed decisions. Online presentations and posts on blogs and Couv.com have been marginalized and ridiculed by both the Columbian and elected officials as they continue efforts to circumvent voters and other elected officials who see the futility of strapping Clark County with generations of high debt for a mode of transportation few will even use.

I urge you all to visit the link above to view the video at Portland Light Rail: Tracking the Facts [pt. 1] and to browse through the Couv.com archives for more facts and revelations, some quite startling in what they reveal and what both the media and elected officials have sought to keep from the public’s view.

We must remember that elected officials are not the owners of this country or even our local region. We the People are and it is upon us to become informed as to what they are doing for and to us.

This notion that once elected, they are free to just do as they see fit, and falsely assuming that votes to elect them are supportive of their every whim, as expressed by megalomaniac 49th Legislative District Representative Jim Moeller must be corrected.

We can only do it by educating ourselves on the “facts” of what it is they are doing and the Couv.com presentation does just that.

4 Comments to “Looking for Facts on Portland’s Light Rail”

  1. The ONLY reason that light-rail is considered in ANY community is FEDERAL FUNDING. If it wasn’t for Uncle Sugar stepping up with the lions-share of the loot, there is no way the local governments could afford either the cost of construction or the cost of off-setting the difference between fares and actual cost-per-trip. When I served on the SW Washington Transportation Committee a number of years ago, although there was great pressure on the committee members to consider Light Rail, the general consensus was that it was not cost effective, especially when you consider a cost-per-rider basis. What WAS more favorably considered and recommended was expanding and improving commuter bus lines. (Please note the difference between COMMUTER BUSES and buses which provide all-hours service throughout the community). The biggest need for expanded transportation is rush-hour; when people are going to and from work. You do not need to run COMMUTER-BASED transportation all day, only in early morning and late afternoon. To alleviate the traffic problems that plague our freeways, building dedicated bus-lanes was proposed. A bus lane can be build alone existing right-of-ways at a much lower cost per mile than light-rail. And buses can go ANYWHERE. They are not tied to a specific route but can be rerouted for special events such as Rose Parade and Fourth-of-July Fireworks. Not much is said anymore about this concept. But if the powers that be REALLY WANT to address the commuter issues that plug our bridges and freeways, improved and expanded bus transportation needs to be revisited.

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  2. Some bus routes run to midnight every 15 minutes, with very few riders. Is this cost effective? Seems like a van would be sufficient.

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  3. Margaret, I agree, and definitely there needs to be changes in routes and schedules. But what we are talking about is Commuter Transportation or Rush Hour, the time of day when the bridges and freeways are choked with traffic. This is why buses are more cost-effective. Because you can use more or less as needed, even smaller buses during off hours.

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  4. Margaret, I can agree with Ron. The piece is about the Light Rail system and bridge. not your average C-tran bus system run, non-commuter run. Though as a person who does ride the bus at very different levels, I agree with your assessment and will leave it at that.
    And Ron, as you well stated, I believe the commuter runs should be available during the morning and afternoon runs to help relieve congestion. It also should have decent, measurable markers for need to continue to run that system. And if the system cannot show the need over a year or so, pull the service or reorganize it to fit the need that exists.

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