Wait... What? TriMet's Threatening 70 Percent Service Cuts by 2025

Comments

1
@Dennis - What questions, specifically, are raised in the Portland Afoot article you linked? I read through it and other than some snarky editorializing, they didn't exactly challenge the agency math.

And seriously, why shouldn't McFarlane make dire warnings about the budget. I don't know who signed on to this Greek-style benefits plan in the first place, but why do Trimet operators deserve such a better benefits package than state workers, county workers or even city workers funded by the same tax payers? The honest answer is that they are not any more deserving.

Let's rehash:
- Would you love to have the current ATU 757 benefits package?
- Do you think the Mercury can afford to provide it for you?
- Would you love for the ATU 757 to continue with this benefits package?
- Do you think that Trimet and the taxpayers of Oregon can afford to provide it?

If you didn't just say Yes, No, Yes, No, then PLEASE, PLEASE elucidate your viewpoint for me.
2
Let's just drop TriMet altogether and start over.
3
Agreed with Blabby, but unfortunately we're on that way, and the process is ugly.

Here’s the Agency’s long term plan: cut services and raise taxes until Portlanders see that this whole thing is entirely unsustainable. Then, the agency sells off its assets to the highest bidders, and the whole thing becomes privatized. The debts for constructing all of this light rail will remain on our shoulders, but the assets will shift to another group who keeps all of the profits from operating it.

This isn’t accidental, or by poor financial planning, but TriMet’s preferred outcome. The planners of this city want a privatized system because then they can control who (and by this I mean skin color and income level) uses these services. When it’s a public agency, they’re bound to certain federal regulations that planners find undesirable – as a private agency, they can avoid all of that while still servicing people who live in the nice ‘burbs and work downtown. The highest up at TriMet, like McFarlane, know that they’ll end up in a cushy position with higher pay when they’re an executive of a private company, as opposed to a public agency.

The best outcome for Portlanders would be to cease all construction on light-rail projects, dissolve TriMet, and have the bus system come under the authority of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, and the light-rail to come under the authority of Metro. As transportation advocates have screamed for years: light rail is not sustainable from a funding perspective, and it’s the cash-cow eating the agency’s budgets. Juxtapose light rail to a bus system: a bus system is sustainable, it can even be profitable – and construction on road systems has the mutual benefit of aiding private vehicle drivers and bikers. The other elephant is retirement and benefit packages, and to address this, we basically need to stop letting people retire by setting maximum tenure limits of X-number of years for 95% of employees. It’s foolish and shortsighted to allow these benefit packages to continue to grow: cut our losses now and issue a check to all retirees for their maximum benefits and let the retiree choose how to invest their money. This would be a huge debt (probably less than building two new light rail lines), but would save money in the long run.

The only road ahead is the shut-down of TriMet, the people in this city can approach this properly and do a controlled demolition, or just let it collapse and for some fat-cat to buy up all the pieces while we’re not paying attention.
4
@fidelity_axiom: How far up the ranks of the Illumnati does this plan go?
6
Hey, thanks for the nice words, Denis! Hank, sorry if my PA post overdosed on snark. I hope you found its facts fair and useful, at least. I don't think anybody's arguing that your point of view is invalid, though certainly the operators' union would tell you that driving a bus is much harder on the body than typing and talking for a living. :)
7
@Hank - High enough to have its own Wikipedia page on the process, and for this process to have happened in dozens upon dozens of cities in the last decade. There's several think tanks that applaud this happening for various reasons.

So, Grand Awakened Wizard level, at least.
8
OK, I'll bite. Link me to these "dozens of dozens" of cities where fat cats are lining up to do as you say.
9
Listen to arch conservative John Charles who in this instance makes the best presentation as to why Trimet is in trouble.
Mcfarlane is into the world wide union busting propaganda, most of the public swallows it which is unfortunate because the union losing will not gain anything for the public:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6UUd_40w6Y
10
I wonder if/when Al M's constant public personal attacks on specific members of TriMet management will come up during arbitration or in court.