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CRC’s answer to C-Tran   Comments on CRC’s answer   Trimet’s projections accuracy   Correcting false claims about the CRC


Correcting False CRC Claims

M   Claim: An investment of $450 million from Washington will result in a $3.1-3.5 billion infrastructure project.

They forgot to mention the $100 million/year tolls which will escalate to over $200 million/yr and total over $4 Billion over 30 years. $4 Billion to get $3.5 Billion is not a good deal. (59,000 commuters x $2000/yr. tolls)   

M   Claim: More than a decade of input from citizens and local elected leaders.

Most of the input was ignored. Here is a direct quote from one CRC document: “The decision meetings would be open to the public, but only minimum legal notices would be provided and no display advertising would be placed. We would not encourage public participation.”

M   Claim: Unanimous support for Locally Preferred Alternative.

There is little real support for light rail - Vancouver voters refused to pay even 1/10 cent sales tax to operate light rail.

M  Claim: For the Final EIS, the range of one-way toll rates studied for the financial analysis was between $1 and $3 (2006 dollars, see Exhibit 4.3-3 from the FEIS). This range in 2020 dollars (post construction) would be $1.41 to $4.24. (pg 23)

The minimum toll is $4.24 each way. Page 4-19 of the  FEIS states: “scenarios based on either the Base (Schedule 1) or Schedule 2 toll rates  do not appear to be viable. The finance plan scenario shown assumes Toll Rate  Schedule 3 and employs its entire borrowing capacity. It employs 3 years of precompletion tolling on a cash basis and a small amount of residual toll revenues. (Emphasis added) (The actual tolls in Schedule 3 - tolls of $4.24 each way in 2020. That is about $2000/yr for rush hour commuters.)

M   Claim: A light rail component is absolutely necessary to secure $850 million in New Starts federal funding for this project,

Deceptive: New Starts is a Federal Transit Agency program & they only give money to build transit. It is completely unrelated to Federal Highway money for the freeway component, including the bridge.

M   Claim: Local revenues and tolling will also be needed

Only for the mega project.  If we remove the light rail and un-needed interchange work, then the project comes in at less $800 million. After $400 million from the Federal Highway Administration, that leaves only $200 million from each state and NO TOLLS.

M   Claim: An estimated 25 % lower operations and maintenance cost per rider

Why does C-Tran need additional revenue to operate it, if it is cheaper?

M   Claim: If light rail is removed from the project, additional environmental review process will be required, which would delay the project for years if not decades.

To quote their own document: A supplemental EIS would likely require 12 to 24 months to complete.”  That is a small delay to save over a billion dollars.

M   Claim: Any further attempt to change the current bridge design will cause years, if not decades of delay.

Hurry up and buy this baby, before someone else gets it! Just like a used car salesperson. Actually only 12-24 months to save Billions is a good deal. See above

M   Claim: Eliminates last national interstate bridge lift

Low cost changes to railroad bridge will cut lifts by 90+%

M   Claim: Improves crossing to modern seismic standards

Reality: The current bridges are less likely to fall than other Portland I5 bridges.

M   Claim: Improves commute time and reduces congestion

Only slightly: ONE MINUTE in the am and EIGHT MINUTES in the pm, for a toll cost of $48/hr. saved

M   Claim:  Reduces accidents and emergency bottlenecks

Other I5 bridges have more accidents

M   Claim: We will lose ... $450 million from Oregon if light rail is eliminated from the project.

Light rail is not the only contingency attached to Oregon’s $450 million. It must also pass muster with Oregon’s State Treasurer among other restrictions.

M   Claim: The I-5 Bridge does not meet current safety and seismic standards.

Most bridges DO NOT meet the latest (“current”)  standards.

M   Claim: Compared to bus rapid transit, light rail provides: Better travel times [light rail averages 17 mph versus BRT’s 14.5 mph, including stops]

They forgot to tell you that the current express bus takes 15 minutes from downtown to downtown while the light rail will take over 30 minutes!

M   Claim: Greater potential for nearby transit oriented development

This is the real reason for light rail - to enable high density development with taxpayer subsidies.  

M   Claim: The approved project design anticipates a significant mode shift from single occupancy

vehicles to transit.

They claim a transit usage approaching that of New York City. That is simply unrealistic. The history of transit is one of steady decline since the automobile became affordable almost 100 years ago. Why would people abandon their convenient, fast cars for slow, inconvenient transit?

M   Claim: What happens if light rail ridership projections aren’t met? Will express bus service be cut?

TriMet has cut bus service more severely than its light rail

M   Claim: Based on current modeling, in 2030 during the PM 2-hour peak, trains are operating at approximately 98 percent capacity with 7.5 minute headways, which equates to a two hour peak load of approximately 4,180 riders.

Reality: That is with all riders standing and is about the capacity of a single lane of a freeway, but at the cost of a five lane freeway! Is this really the wave of the future?

M   Claim:  Generates a regional economic benefit of $5-8 billion

They forgot the cost of tolls & cost over-runs. The cost is over $4 billion when you include tolls. Even more when you include the depressed economic activity due to an effective tax increase of $100-$200 million/yr. Still more when you have to pay for cost over-runs.

The 59,000 residents from Clark County that work in Oregon deserve better than to be bled of $2000/yr just to get to work. That is a total of $120 million out of the local economy, about $10 million in lost sales tax due to loss of $300 million in purchasing power over 30 yrs.

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