Dear Tri Met Emperors: You’re Wearing No Clothes, Love, Steve-on-a-Cellphone-From-Tualatin

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This missive was sent by frequent talk show caller Steve. You might think ol’ Steve is without portfolio, but he’s been studying transportation and planning issues for years.  Amazing then, isn’t it, that Steve is able to see things your certified ‘smart’ guys at Tri Met can’t.
Dear Board members,,,,,,,,
It’s hard to imagine what you have been looking at as you stand idly by and disregard every red flag and fatal flaw in sight.
But just so you can’t later claim you were unaware of the dire circumstances here is a complete rundown and it’s copied to various media.
Your fiduciary responsibility requires you to keep up while conducting your oversight of TriMet.
Your agency and plans have become so irresponsible that even your supporters are now opposed to more business as usual.

I wonder how bad does the situation have to be before you act responsibly?

TriMet is in a fiscal crisis and there is no funding for the Milwaukie Light Rail.
The State and local shares are not affordable. They recklessly take from current operations and basic services at many levels.
From the State Lottery to local Urban Renewal to your own operations’ budget the money you are about to spend on Milwaukie Light Rail is already spent.
Those dollars are all part of revenue streams being used by government services.

“Attached” is backgrounder by John Charles.

In no partulcuar order every piece is irrresponisle.

1) The SoWa URAC is opposed to the SoWa urban renewal funding for Milwaikie light rail.
SoWa has been a very big mistake

2) The city’s BES portion of utility relocates is estimated at $45 million. There is no money for this.

3) Long time MAX fan Fred Nussbaum (from Association of Oregon Rail Transit Advocates) told the TriMet board “the only way they can survive their fiscal crisis and salvage transit service is if they halted their capital projects, and that means stopping Milwaukie Light Rail”
4) Chris Smith Says: TriMet will issue bonds for about $39M for the Milwaukie project. That translates to about $3.2M/year for the next 20 years that will not be available for operations.While I support the overall project, I’m adamantly opposed to this particular funding component. It’s just over 2% of the overall budget. Surely we’re smart enough as a region to avoid this.
Chris Smith is a citizen activist focusing on transportation, neighborhoods and civic engagement. He is past Transportation Chair of the Northwest District Assocation, and the founder of Portland Transport.
Chris serves on the board of City Club of Portland and on the Metro Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC), representing the citizens of Multnomah County.
He also chairs the Portland Streetcar Citizens Advisory Committee and serves on the board of Portland Streetcar, Inc.

5) Bob Richarson, Member, Portland Streetcar Citizen Advisory Committee
Advocate for Sustainable, Transit-friendly development:
Bob R. Says:
I agree with Chris and others that proposed funding mechanisms, such as bonding payroll tax revenue for Milwaukie construction, are misguided.
6) TriMet cannot afford itself or it’s share of the Milwaukie LR project.

Fringe benefits now cost 118% of payroll
TriMet’s unfunded long-term liability for the union pension plan equals 197% of the cost of payroll.
TriMet’s unfunded long-term liability for “other post-employment benefits” (OPEB) equals 484% of the cost of payroll. 4 times higher than the second place government entity in the State.
TriMet’s $2200 monthly family health care premium is the highest reported in the 2008 US Transit Sytems Survey.

7) At least $150 million will be taken from basic services to retire the local Urban Renewal debt created by this project.
8) This project will certainly lead to substantial additional tax revenues being diverted from basic services as more UR debt will be used to spur the development along the line that the MAX infrastructure failed to spur.
9) UR funding comes from basic services over decades with taken revenue then having to be replaced.
10) Milwaukie and Clackamas cannot afford their share and they have no source of revenue. Thier attempt to use Urban Renewal will be defeated by public safety taxing jurisdictions and the public.
11) TriMet bus driver calls for halt to Milwaukie MAX
May 8, 2010 11:41 AM
al m Says:
How do you expand when you’re broke?
How come nobody ever asks this of Trimet?

12) Public discussion[csuccess]=true

13) Buses are better

LA Rapid bus/242,000 daily boardings to Milwaukie MAX/27,000 daily boardings.
Every bus element fares better than MAX at a fraction of the cost.
Bus system serves 369 miles – Milwaukie MAX serves 7.3 miles
Capital cost Bus system 350K/mile – Milwaukie MAX capitla cost $194 Million/mile
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://

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