By Taxpayers Association of Oregon
Recently The Oregonian featured a commentary from Joe Cortright that Portland’s building bridges plan are a “Generational crime” because they cost so much to build and that they cause pollution because it encourages people to drive. The Taxpayers Association of Oregon did a response last week, and then researcher Richard Leonetti did one as well.
Here is Richard Leonetti’s response below:
“Joe Cortright (“Oregons funding plan for I-5 bridge is a generational crime” 8/16/23) sets out several problems about $1 billon in bonds. The points he makes have an obvious solution. He says the project is too complex for (in his words) the “inept and incompetent bureaucracy” to build. Solution: simplify it. Build a 10 lane, no frills bridge to efficiently move cars and trucks with no bike lanes or light rail. The savings alone would cover most of the $1billion. Anyway bikes have not generally been allowed on Interstate highways. Commuters already have express buses that are much faster than light rail. He also comments about exhaust emissions. Five lanes each way will eliminate the all-day traffic jams. Moving cars and trucks emit far less than hours of idling vehicles. He also makes the point that those who use transport should pay for it. As we are transitioning to electric vehicles, impose a weight-mile tax on all vehicles, electric too, as we now tax trucks to raise some revenues. I don’t like tolls but if they are imposed, make them smaller by tolling the I-205 as well. If Cortright is really serious about pay-for-use we could stop the payroll transit tax. It would give back Portland workers all of their toll expenses and a lot more. Transit fares would go up but still be a fraction of the actual cost of their rides. A simple bridge is a win-win for cars, trucks and taxpayers.”