How is TriMet spending its new transportation package money?

While it’s not clear yet where exactly all of the expected $40 million Trimet will get each year from the new .1% statewide transit payroll tax will be spent, TriMet has already promised 30% of it won’t be going to … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in TriMet | 1 Comment

The Game Theory of deterring fare evasion on light rail

As I’ve mentioned before, if TriMet builds more light rail capacity, fare evasion will become a greater problem. Buses have a built-in fare inspector as the driver adds little additional marginal cost for inspecting passengers’ fare compliance. MAX however, does … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Public Transportation, TriMet | Tagged | 2 Comments

Holding the President’s beer in Korea

When the Trump administration was seriously moving toward abrogating the excellent trade agreement the Bush administration negotiated with Korea, it was the policy equivalent of that common meme refrain: “hold my beer,” as if he were trying to top past … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Free Trade | Tagged | 7 Comments

The South Fork Forest Camp saves Oregon money

Oregon is burning. Standing between you and the heat are many highly dedicated people fighting these fires, among them are an elite group from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) called Forest Inmate Crew Coordinators (FICCs). When I say elite, … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Corrections, State Government, Timber | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Folk Theory of Labor Markets

A common mistake I see some conservatives make when embracing excessive government regulation of immigration is the belief that lowering the number of immigrants will increase native born workers’ wages. This comes from a failure to fully understand basic economics. … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Government Regulation | Tagged | 15 Comments

Nice turnout at Portland’s first AFF event.

As if it weren’t already obvious Lydia White has been a great new hire at the Cascade Policy Institute, she has managed to organize a Portland chapter of the America’s Future Foundation in her spare time too. I made it … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Crony capitalism, Portland | Tagged | 2 Comments

The RAISE Act is mighty revealing

The RAISE Act is an anti-immigration bill sponsored by Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia. It contains some interesting ideas about changing our selection process from a family-based system to a merit-based system, but the main … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Republican Party | Tagged | 39 Comments

The trains aren’t running on time.

References to the timeliness of trains are a classic proxy for good governance. The operational vulnerabilities that have come with TriMet’s three-decade strategy to increasingly rely on rail are more than metaphorical. MAX, an already frustratingly slow mode of transportation … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Public Transportation, TriMet | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Unskinny Bop Bill

So it’s come to this. Senate Republicans voted last night on a bill they hoped would not become law. It failed because House Republicans could not convince John McCain they would not pass it. Called the “skinny” bill for only … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Obamacare | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Game Theory of Light Rail Platforms

In the tri-county area of TriMet’s service district, the proven reliability of buses is being slowly replaced by light rail, one capital project at a time. How this transformation might change passenger fare compliance is something TriMet needs to carefully … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Public Transportation, TriMet | Tagged | 4 Comments

Coos County is a key to victory

When I was asked by the Coos County Republican Women to speak at their monthly meeting tomorrow, I was happy to oblige, increasingly hearing how up for grabs the voters are in that part of the state. A strong showing … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Oregon House, Oregon Republican Party | Tagged | Leave a comment

When to and not to tax bicycles

The Oregon Senate passed HB2017 yesterday. Some of the most important projects like the widening of Highway 217 didn’t make it into the final bill, but for the most part, this was a good piece of legislation. Unless you’re an … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Progressivism, Public Employee Unions, State Taxes | Tagged | Leave a comment

Governor signs HB2777 and my fare gets inspected

Something remarkable happened this week. For the first time ever, a conductor on the WES asked to see my TriMet fare. I rode this commuter rail line for the first time five years ago and wrote about it for the … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Gov. Kate Brown, Oregon House, Public Transportation, TriMet | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Man Behind the Tree

Over the past year, Oregon Democrats have perfected a technique of unprincipled politics that was poetically captured in a March 1932 Collier’s Weekly article titled “Tax Everyone But Me” which included an astute observation of American progressive politics: At the … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Oregon House, Oregon Senate, State Budget, State Taxes | Tagged | 1 Comment

What I learned at PSU

When I first started writing for the Oregon Catalyst in 2011, I managed a hedge fund that had weathered the storm of 2008 well; indeed we profited from it since my fund was actually hedged. But things were not looking … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Education, Unions | Tagged | 4 Comments

Randal O’Toole Pioneers the Future of Tolling

With his signature colonel ties and a home address in Camp Sherman, Randal O’Toole certainly projects the image of a pioneer, but in the case of testing out the future of transportation financing, he’s as much substance as style. The Beaver … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Transportation | Tagged | 4 Comments

HB 2004: Moderation is Winning

There is something worse than growing housing rents: a permanent housing shortage. That’s what rent control gives a city. Rental prices go up as demand growth begins to outpace supply growth, but markets adjust when those higher prices signal profits … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Housing, Portland | Tagged | 4 Comments

Join With Me on Memorial Day

I’ve been asked to speak at the Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial for its annual Memorial Day ceremony to tell the story of Corporal Lyle Tate. He was killed in action 50 years ago this month in the Republic of Vietnam. 

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Military, U.S. Marine Corps, Veterans | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Shaky Assumption?

Earlier this week Nigel Jaquiss wrote that the proposition a “growing population means more traffic” is a shaky assumption. I admire his making a contrarian point, and I’ve long been an admirer of his writing for Willamette Week, but let’s subject that … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Employment, ODOT, Public Transportation, Transportation, TriMet | Tagged | 3 Comments

Is the Governor Serious About Transportation?

The legislature is going big on transportation infrastructure improvements, hopefully before it goes home. The Joint Committee On Transportation Preservation and Modernization has released the broad outline of a ten-year plan to relieve congestion across the Beaver State, which is … Continue reading

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in ODOT, Transportation | Tagged | 5 Comments

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