Saturday, December 5, 2009

NEW Testimony Regarding Portland Streetcar Expansion Shows Massive Waste

As reported in recent Portland council testimony, the Portland streetcar is massively expensive to build, operate and maintain.  Please take the time to read through this as it shows exactly where Boise will be headed if we build one here:

Just the summary alone states it perfectly:

"The Portland Streetcar is 73 times more expensive to build per-mile than the Rapid Bus alternative; in what ways is it 73 times better? In fact, it is not superior by even a single metric. The Rapid Bus system is cheaper, more flexible, twice as fast, arrives more often, is easier to implement, and its users are willing to pay 23 times more for service.
Portland is a city whose leaders pride themselves on promoting “sustainability,” yet the streetcar requires subsidies for 100% of capital costs and 98% of operating costs. Exponential debt is not a sustainable development concept."

As reported in my other posts in this blog, Portland is facing reduced mass transit ridership but increasing operation and maintenance costs.  They have also REDUCED bus service on many routes because there is not enough money to go around - see - and see what is conspicuously ABSENT from the cuts - their STREETCAR.  They have reduced the MAX (their light rail) and bus services, but not the streetcar, which they are talking about expanding.

This proves what I have said many times - every dollar spent on a streetcar will be a dollar that will not be available for other transit or city projects.  If it is happening in Portland with its bigger population, and its 25% higher population density, what will happen to Boise if we get a streetcar here?   Most likely, the future problems we will face budgetwise will be WORSE.

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