BRT is Dead

by lewwaters

(A spoof by Professor Robert Dean)



Jeff Hamm: Hey, Lew! Thanks for agreeing to meet with me.

Lew Waters: No problem, Jeff. I wouldn’t have chosen Bryan Wray’s coffee shop, though.

Jeff Hamm: Sorry about that, Lew. I need the cover.

Lew Waters: Oh, you mean the tar and feathers stuff. Look, I wouldn’t…

Jeff Hamm: I’m not, really – just precautions.

Lew Waters: What’s up?

Jeff Hamm: Did you bring your tape recorder?

Lew Waters: Yep! Got it right here. Want me to turn it on?

Jeff: Sure – why not.

Lew: This is Thursday October 2, 2014, at 10:12 am, Vancouver, WA, with Jeff Hamm, CEO of C-Tran. What’s the purpose of this meeting?

Jeff: I’ve got a press release I want to read to you – it’s about BRT.

Lew: I heard rumors that you were shutting it all down. Is that true?

Jeff: Well, yes and no. Let me read the press release and then you can ask questions, OK? You will publish it, won’t you?

Lew: Hang on. Why are you reading it to me? Why not make the announcement through the Columbian?

Jeff: I did, but they didn’t publish it.

Jeff: Lou Brancaccio said he would but he keeps forgetting. Remember the secret compact we had with TriMet?

Lew: That’s right! You were going to let TriMet have Eminent Domain authority over Clark County soil and the Columbian didn’t whisper a word about it for a week!

Jeff: Yes, not until Liz Pike organized all those rallies. Lou’s OK but he just forgets things all the time.

Lew: You should have come to me that time.

Jeff: I know Lew, and I do apologize.

Jeff: OK, let’s do it. Here goes…

>b>For Immediate Release
The Chief Executive Officer of C-Tran, Jeff Hamm, today announced that its long lived Bus Rapid Transit division is defunct. Splat.

Jeff: Any questions?

Lew: Well…no…that about says it all.

Lew: What does the C-Tran Board of Directors have to say about this?

Jeff: I haven’t told them yet. I can’t imagine they’ll be very happy about it. Some of them, like Larry Smith and Tim Leavitt, have gone out on a limb to make sure we never had an up or down vote on the BRT System Plan. But, what can they say? They’re just part-time directors and I’m CEO – sort of like the new Clark County charter we devised.

Lew: What happens to your BRT Manager, Chuck Green?

Jeff: That’s the sad part. Chuck has been with us for going on 4 years now. Even though he sacrificed a brilliant and promising career with Parsons Brinckerhoff – he was on loan, you know – to come and help us out in our time of need, we can’t afford to pay him his exorbitant salary and benefits any more – he is vested, though, for CTran’s generous retirement package.

Lew: I heard he was going back to Parsons Brinckerhoff as a VP.

Jeff: He would have if the BRT program had been a success – as a failure; no way. Last I talked to Chuck the Columbian was going to formally acquire his Facebook page and make him a VP there – sort of to complete the circle.

Lew: What about you? What about Patterson and Wolfendale? Seems to me you were all hoping to pad your own resumes.

Jeff: Don’t worry about Wolfie – he was a Godsend. I don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t hire Wolfendale as our attorney. Remember that $5 million termination clause we had with TriMet?

Lew: Sure do – that was a mistake.

Jeff: Yes, it was – but an innocent one. You see, Wolfie copied and pasted from a Word template that he used when he drew up all our employment contracts. We’ve all got the same thing. Except Patterson – he’s SOL.

Lew: And you?

Jeff: I’m going back to TriMet.

Lew: Back?

Jeff: Never left.

Lew: Just a minute. None of this explains why you’re shutting down BRT – I heard there was a lawsuit brewing.

Jeff: Who told you that? Dang, Brancaccio – I told him to keep that under wraps.

Lew: It’s all over Facebook. They say there’s a bunch of elderly, disabled, and economically disadvantaged folks filing a class action against the FTA, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and you for reducing their bus service levels with BRT. Is that true?

Jeff: It’s all crap! Bunch of ingrates. Who do they think they are, anyway? This BRT system was to benefit all the stakeholders – not just them.

Lew: But isn’t there a federal law that says there can’t be a reduction in service levels before and after BRT – especially for the social justice crowd?

Jeff: Look, we’re reducing the number of bus stops from one every 1/4 mile with regular busses to one every 1/3 of a mile with BRT. Big deal! We had to do that to make the numbers pan out, otherwise BRT wouldn’t work. And besides, we did an on-line computer poll and 64% of the poll-takers, not sure if they actually ride the bus but they do own computers and can go on line, said they’d rather that the elderly and disabled had to walk further to catch the bus so that they, the urbanites, would have a quicker trip into Portland. Here we’re giving them a sleek fancy dandy modern BRT super train to ride on and they gripe about having to walk further to the bus stop. I don’t know why we even bother trying to please some people.

Lew: What about the extra time it will take to get to Portland? I thought BRT was supposed to make it quicker.

Jeff: It was. It did. That’s the whole reason why we reduced the number of bus stops and stopped serving North and East Vancouver by eliminating our popular Routes 4 and 44. A quarter of all our riders on those routes are going to or from Portland. We chose a locally preferred alternative back in the summer of 2012 when we were planning to run our Portland bound riders from the Mall to the Downtown Vancouver LRT station in just under 30 minutes. That compares favorably to what it takes now to run from the Expo Max station to the Mall on Route 44 Limited Express. Then, you guys nixed the CRC and so our BRT riders will have to change to a shuttle in Downtown to get them to the Expo Max station – that adds at least another 15 minutes to the Portland commute. Our East and North Vancouver BRT riders will also have to make another additional transfer on top of that. For travel time it’s like keeping the popular Route 4 but eliminating half the stops, not serving North Vancouver any more, and adding two transfers in the rain into the mix – blows the whole BRT plan out of the water.

Lew: So that’s why you’re ending BRT?

Jeff: No, no, no, we were still going to go ahead with it so that you all would see how much we need that CRC with light rail. That was Tim Leavitt’s plan, anyway.

Lew: Won’t you have to repay FTA for all the studies you did with Parsons Brinckerhoff?

Jeff: Hey, that federal money was already appropriated from Congress. They were begging us to take it.

Lew: I heard the lawsuit was going to go after you, personally, on constitutional grounds – denial of due process – with a 42 USC 1983 filing.

Jeff: Utter hogwash! That Ku Klux Klan Act has been abused. They would have to show that their property values were somehow diminished because we moved a bus stop from ¼ mile away to an economic pulse point 1/3 of a mile away. What’s the chances?

Lew: So what tipped the balance?

Jeff: I watched a movie about Huckleberry Finn. Suddenly, I realized that they sit you on the sharp edge of a triangular cedar rail and haul you to the bus stop. That could do some serious damage to future prospects. Simple as that.

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One Comment to “BRT is Dead”

  1. If there weren’t so many truths to the points made here, this would be funnier Lew. Having worked in transportation for twenty years, I’m acutely aware that the Pro-Charter/CRC.BRT Democrats & a very few Republicans, will NEVER give up, no matter how illegal the methods, to pull off their heist of more of our tax dollars. They got a big hand in our paychecks now, but nothing compared to what they have planned for us!

    Just look how the pro-Narrows Bridge people kept enlarging the voting boundaries all the way out to Jefferson County in order to get their YES vote on the bridge, after the people repeatedly voted it down, with Gig Harbor (a Democrat-dominated town directly impacted) voting 85% against the bridge!

    Look at my former county Pierce, where one county tax base was not enough money to satisfy the never-ending, insatiable greed for more of our money. Pierce County leaders, Pierce Transit, Puget Sound Regional Council & other invested special interests, actively campaigned in smaller communities to incorporate them, creating for those residents additional new & more:
    **additional layers of bureaucracies, EXPANSIVE county growth=$$$.
    **add’l policies, rules, regulations, taxes, licensing, fees to pay & navigate through=$$$
    **add’l taxes for the self-employed, SBO’s-Small Business Owners=$$$.
    **add’l barriers to holding the commissioners accountable=more buckpassing=greater frustration.
    **removing power from the voters & vesting it in career bureaucrats, i.e. executive directors.
    **county commissioners became figureheads, with the county executive as the power to end all power.
    **Pierce Transit, a TAXING AUTHORITY & its union, ATU 758 actively engage in promoting the growth of govt
    because they benefit financially, including illegally placing fear-mongering info alerts on the buses. ATU 758
    threatens members with their typical line “Jobs will be slashed, starting first with the last hired.” I also noticed a
    pattern of hiring six months before an election. These new hires are desperate to keep their jobs in this economy
    & get their families & friends to vote pro-govt growth.
    **County govt resources used to entrench that system that become impossible to repeal, thereby ensuring the
    continued growth of the county govt., regardless of the voters’ wishes.
    **County govt jobs are designed to embed like-minded political operatives, employees, thereby entrenching the county
    govt with a majority of Democrat employees, making the working environment very hostile to Republicans. This
    model is used IN ALL GOVT agencies. Democrats are being enriched, filling the coffers of the DNC &
    candidates. Republicans, Independents & non-political job seekers are being deprived of earning living wage
    incomes with benefits & pensions. Unethical. Unconscionable. Guess who doesn’t care about either?

    As long as we allow these cultures of corruption in our governing bodies, the CRC/BRT/Charter will be far from dead.
    PUSH BACK HARD & keep pushing back hard friends. Our freedoms, ALL but the elites’ quality of living, our nation’s viability are at stake.

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