The Antiplanner reports that Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx came to Portland selling more choo-choo transit BS . . .
Memo to Foxx: Put Money Where It Works | The Antiplanner
. . . this tags along neatly with the last post:
Megan McArdle takes on the long and unnecessary TSA lines, and ends up body slamming government in the process . . .
More after the break.
"Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx came to Portland the other day and said cities needed to find “moonshots” to fund their transportation programs. He criticized Congress for passing a $302 billion, five-year transportation bill last year because it “locks in a sustained period of underinvestment.”
If by “moonshots” Foxx means a magic formula for fixing congestion and other transportation problems, then Portland is the wrong place to look. The Portland area has already spent well over $4 billion on a light-rail system, yet as of 2014 light railcarried only 1 percent of the region’s motorized passenger travel and no freight. Despite this, the region’s leaders now want to spend $2 billion more on another 11-mile line."
The Antiplanner knows that Foxx was in Portlandia not concerning fixing congestion or transportation problems, he was in Portlandia to help his agency build its budget by selling Portlandia on ever more inane rail transportation. This is mental illness. Rail transportation is a failure, and a horrendously expensive transportation failure. The cost of this failure will be born by our children.
"A recent presentation by Portland bicycle coordinator Roger Geller showed that Portland has succeeded in greatly increasing bicycle commuting at a fairly low cost, but its transit programs have failed. Between 2000 and 2014, said Geller, Portland-area bicycle commuters grew by 11,590 and work-at-homes grew by 13,760, but transit commuters grew by less than 7,700.
More commuters in the city of Portland bicycle or walk to work than take transit, something most other major cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, and even Austin, can’t say. But most of those bicycle commuters live in the central city, so what Portland has done may not work well in the suburbs. Geller, unlike most other Portland planners, is at least asking the right questions.
Finally, Secretary Foxx and other transportation policy makers need to realize that planning for the future is different from planning for the past. The past had streetcars, light rail, and other forms of transit. The future is going to rely on self-driving cars, and the people who would have used transit will instead find shared, self-driving cars more convenient and in most cases less expensive. Let’s hope that whoever runs the Department of Transportation in 2017 is willing to learn these lessons."
Portlandia has its "moonshot" -- bicycle and pedestrian transportation, which is impressive in a city as damp as Portlandia. And there is nothing which will reanimate transit. The problem is as Portlandia grows, it moves out of the city center. But all transit must hub through the city center, and this makes using transit very difficult, with long wait, ride, and transfer times. This is made worse by light rail. The light rail is so expensive to operate that to save money Metro is forced to cut bus service, and even bus lines to help pay for the exorbitant cost of rail. This means fewer buses on the route, and longer wait times both initially, and at transfers, and increasingly deferred maintenance means some buses never come. This is the exaltation of the middle class transit mode over the lower class transit mode, a transfer of wealth from taxpayers to mostly the middle class.
Walking, and biking may be less comfortable, but they are consistent, cheap, and healthy. And, so, more people turn to these modes. Cheaper than the auto, they make the younger Portlandian progressive feel good about themselves without all of the problems associated with riding the bus, or spending 35 minutes trapped in a bus with a bunch strangers.
Foxx would love nothing more than to expand his fiefdom through demand for light rail, streetcar, and other transportation funding from reliable cities like Portlandia.
We need to bring change to all of our government from the local, to the regional, to the state, to the federal. They have run amok and are little more than fiefdoms used to build power, and project careers. We need to return government to its appropriate place, and size before it implodes.
If the Boomers do not do this now, before they retire, the Millennials will do it after they retire, and the results will likely be very bad for the Boomers.
Maddog realizes one can only lead the horse to water, one cannot make it drink. But Maddog will try.