Residents of “America’s Vancouver” are probably feeling like a little more as if they’re living in some European welfare state after receiving word their mayor won’t fight tolls on the proposed replacement for the Interstate bridge. Tim Leavitt’s position represents an about face on his steadfast promise of no tolls on the new interstate bridge. It was a promised which propelled him into office. What’s worse is Leavitt’s rationale for wanting to toll. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Tim Leavitt deposed his rival, incumbent Mayor Royce Pollard, on the promise of not tolling Vancouverites, but as he’s gotten closer to the process of the Columbia River Crossing realizes that the professional planner class will nick the money from someone and he doesn’t want it to be solely residents of Vancouver. Fair enough. Leavitt’s always maintained that it’s not fair to toll Vancouverites at all because those who work in Oregon already pay income taxes and receive little or no benefit. In fact, for all their trouble, Vancouverites who take I-5 travel among the worst maintained portion of the interstate on the west coast.
But what’s worse is Leavitt’s “solution.” Leavitt proposes to tax/toll anyone who travels along the eventually improved I-5 corridor.
Leavitt is now suggesting a form of point-access tolling, which would assess a fee for any single-occupant vehicle that enters the corridor. He specifically mentioned Oregonians who drive on I-5 between Marine Drive and Hayden Island, although the same burden would theoretically apply to travel between state Highway 500 and downtown Vancouver.
The idea of throwing all taxpayers (and the businesses within the corridor) under the
bus light rail choo choo for the improvements is unconscionable.
When light rail additions take up an estimated 40% of the cost of building a bridge AND those few riders who will take it will be SUBSIDIZED, it’s repulsive to consider that the unnecessary expenditure will be borne by those who by necessity or choice drive. From the Washington Policy Center:
According to the Regional Transportation Council, the bridge carries about 3,300 transit trips per day. That means only 2.4 percent of all trips that cross the bridge are on public transit. Adding light rail to the bridge would increase costs by about $1.17 billion. This means local officials want to spend 40 percent more in order to serve 2.4 percent of total bridge crossings.
Those who would take light rail ALREADY take the perfectly adequate C-Tran.
As WPC pointed out in an 2008 op ed:
Light rail is expensive and it requires significant public assistance. On average, West Coast light-rail systems need taxpayer subsidies to pay for 73 percent of operations and 100 percent of capital improvements every year.
Light rail is far less efficient than a bus system. Attracting a new rider to light rail costs 16 to 47 times as much as attracting a new rider to a traditional bus system. And when accounting for passenger demand, West Coast light rail is 12 percent more expensive to operate than bus service.
Don’t fall for the hype, Tim. Royce Pollard was thrown out of office for his willingness to be dictated to by Metro. Vancouver elected a leader who would represent them. This is not representation, it’s capitulation.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com