Here in Portlandia, corrupt politicians are addicted to money, and transit kickbacks, er, "campaign donations" . . .
Portland Metro: More Lies Per Capita | The Antiplanner
. . . which leads them to lie about every single thing involved in a new rail transit project.
Read more below the fold!
The politicians here are incredibly corrupt. And transit spending allows this corruption to pay off big time. The lies are pathological in nature and are frequently unrelated to any real need.
"'We’re driving less than other metros,” says Portland Metro, “and we’re driving less than 20 years ago.” These are the kinds of lies that are so typical of Portland planners: easy to check, but since few will bother, they get away with it. First, although Portlanders do drive a little less than residents of other large urban areas, they also drove a little less than residents of those same urban areas 20 years ago, so that’s no change.
More important, Portlanders are in fact driving more than they were 20 years ago. Metro’s source for its data is the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) urban mobility study. But those data only count miles of driving on freeways and other arterials. Because Portland hasn’t built any new freeways or arterials in 20 years, people are forced to drive more on collectors and other roads. When all driving is counted, according to the Federal Highway Administration (which is the source of TTI’s data), Portlanders drove an average of 22.9 miles per person per day in 2014, up 13 percent from 20.2 miles per person per day in 1994.
Metro uses lies like these to implicitly claim that all of its spending on light rail is worthwhile. In fact, light rail is just not very important to Portland travel. As the Antiplanner showed last week, transit carries just 2.6 percent of motorized travel in the Portland urban areas, and since light rail is less than 40 percent of transit, that means light rail is less than 1 percent of all motorized travel."
Lies like this are pathetic. Simply tell the truth, and if you believe people need to ride transit more, sell that, but telling porkies "just because" makes these transits true believers look like fools.
These lies, however, can be also related to new transit projects.
"But the big lie about buses is that their capacity is lower than rail. Bus capacity is so low, planners claim, that it “would hit full capacity during rush hour within 10 years of opening.”
This persuaded at least some officials that buses won’t work. “I had high hopes for BRT,” said one. “But . . . it would not carry the capacity it needed in the long-run.” This is baloney.
* * *
Because Portland has short blocks, it can’t run light-rail transit longer than two cars. Except in a few places where trains don’t stop, Portland can also safely run no more than 20 light-rail trains per hour. So that means, as shown in the chart below, the capacity of a light-rail line is 20 x 266 = 5,320 people per hour. That’s not very many.
Metro seems to think that, because light-rail lines can only support 20 trains an hour, busways can also support just 20 buses per hour, as indicated by the above chart that claims buses can only move about 1,700 people per hour. This is ridiculous: why would anyone sensible build a road for just 20 vehicles per hour?"
Yes, Portlandia transit planners, are unwilling to tell the truth here because lying makes light rail look good, and bus transit look bad, while in reality, light rail is the weak sister, and bus transit is a far better alternative. These lies are the kind of things simpletons would cobble together in an attempt to get to taste a pie for free. Wasn't it Simple Simon who wanted to taste the pie, but could not show his penny?
How much more simple are Portlandians for failing to see through these lies?
How many buses can a road handle?
"Portland’s existing bus mall can support 160 buses per hour in each direction (or it did before they fouled it up with light rail, which reduced the mall’s overall transit capacity). Passengers boarding these buses must pay fares or show passes to the driver as they board, which slows “dwell” times at each stop. But a bus-rapid transit line to Tualatin, says Metro, would use advanced fare collection,” meaning people would pay before they board. This would cut dwell times in half and could double throughput to more than 300 buses per hour.
At 86 passengers per bus, even just 160 buses means 13,760 people per hour, or about three times the capacity of light rail. Unlike the light-rail line, the busway capacity can be increased by running more buses or running buses capable of carrying more people."
Wow, more than 20!? Who would have guessed? And there is no need for this route to handle 160 since the projected peak ridership demand in 2035 is about 2200 riders per hour. This peak ridership is about one half of the light rails max capacity, but only 2200/13760 or 16% of full busway capacity. But in reality this peak ridership could be handled with about 30 buses on regular roads, so even a busway is unnecessary.
These Portlandia transit lies are necessary to continue the sale of idiotic and idiotically expensive rail transit projects which allow the politicians to capture huge amounts of campaign finance funds from the rail construction companies, and secure high paying jobs with these or other vendors once they leave politics. The transit bureaucrats also find these deals lucrative since managing a rail transit system pays far more than managing a bus only system, and once they retire they also can capture lucrative job, and consulting deals.
The billions these projects cost, however, are all but totally lost. The money is not productively used, and only a tiny fraction would be needed to replace the shockingly expensive rail with bus transit. This would, of course, allow transit costs to be lower, and the subsidy taxes needed to fund transit would be lower. Today, in Portlandia, transit returns less than 20% of the operating costs through the fare-box. This means that the remaining 80% of operating costs, 100% of maintenance costs, and 100% of initial capital construction costs all must come from taxpayers. In addition, every 30 years the entire rail system, every rail, switch, rivet, and bar must be replaced. This costs just about the same amount as the initial capital construction.
Thus, in 30 years the light rail line in question here will cost another $2 billion. But most rail transit agency's do not perform this total recapitalization maintenance, and instead defer the maintenance. This leads to the problems we are seeing in Washington DC.
Metro sank into crisis despite decades of warnings
washington metro | Search Results | The Antiplanner
In addition to money, this total recapitalization maintenance requires time, perhaps a year or more to completely rebuild the system.
Lastly, the Portlandia transit planners and politicians never place these projects within the framework of the real world. Apparently, rail, and bus transit will last forever in Portlandia, or at least as long as 20-somethings come here to retire. The self drive car revolution will never roil the waters of Portlandia's Utopian transit system. Except that it will, and soon.
By 2020 the self drive car will be ready for rollout, and will likely be in use even in Portlandia. By 2030, these vehicles will be mature, and will have completely taken over the transportation world.
Washington's Metro is in crisis, and will sink further, worse it is just the tip of the iceberg . . .
Portland needs to watch the slow failure of Washington Metro . . .
Portlandia's rail transit is very unlikely to make it all of the way to 2035 without serious intervention from government limiting or eliminating the self drive share ride car. However, doing so will all but destroy Portlandia's ability to attract people, other than Luddites, to come to Portland. This is Portlandia's Catch-22, the pols, and the bureaucrats want the graft and corruption which rail transit provides, yet it is obviously coming to an end. To keep the gravy train going, these corrupt groups simply lie, and obfuscate. Hoping to gain a few more years on the gravy train before being kicked to the curb.
Rail infrastructure projects have not made sense in 100 years, currently no large scale transit infrastructure makes sense. Instead we should be promoting the Uberization of transit, which will be followed by the self drive car. We can do this by ending the transit construction boondoggles, and subsidizing low cost Uber/Lyft/etcetera transportation for the actual poor.
We seem to forget that the Gold Standard in transit is door-to-door transportation, on demand, for very low costs, at high comfort, with zero or very low subsidies, and only subsidies for the actual poor. Rail does this less well than bus, bus does this less well than auto. If Portlandia has placed 100% of the moneys expended on transit in Portland since 1985, we would have been able to subsidize Uber/taxi's for the poor, and left the middle class and wealthy to provide their own transportation. The money would have been sufficient to extend this Gold Standard arrangement in perpetuity. Instead we have and continue to build transit projects which do not come close to the Gold Standard, and which require large and increasing public subsidies. This is a form of madness, all designed to line the pockets of the politicians, and bureaucrats.
Just stop . . . NOW!