Drive less = save a billion?

The Oregonian today is highlighting a new study saying Portland area residents save 100 hours and billion dollars by driving less. Does this study factor in Portland’s nationally high traffic congestion? With higher gas prices could this be higher? Are volunteer efforts, high density and bike programs finally paying real cash into people’s pockets?

On a similiar note, The Democrat Herald made this crticism of where our transportation dollars are being spent:
– $250 million for Portland/Milwaukie lightrail
– $20 million to develop streetcars
– That is $270 million not going to $800 million of road maintenance

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Posted by at 05:28 | Posted in Measure 37 | 17 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    The study is obviously flawed and an outright lie. No one saves anything. Period.
    What a bunch of losers.

  • Ken

    > The study is obviously flawed and an outright lie. No one
    > saves anything. Period. What a bunch of losers.

    What a brilliant and cogent analysis. You should be very proud.

    If you have evidence and reasoning behind your conclusions it might make them, you know, worth something. As it is, you’re just another blowhard.

  • NME

    Driving less is about many factors: more people working from home, more people working flex time, people moving out of Portland to the Suburbs where the jobs are and the commute is less. Most of these factors are positive.

  • JAC

    Doesn’t this study conclusion help support a policy of expanding the capacity of our roads and bridges in the region to reduce congestion, commuter times, petroleum consumption, and global warming 😉 …

  • Bob Clark

    This Oregonian article and economic study is funny. If you were to ask the large mass of Metro Portlanders stuck in traffic between 7 am and 9 am and again between 4 pm and 6pm, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t share the positive tone of the article/study. For those who couldn’t take the planned highway congestion anymore and moved closer to work, I’m pretty sure many would say they were forced to pay up to be close (quite the opposite of what the article says). Still others trade the stress of current traffic congestion levels for much longer commute times using mass transit. For these folks, the cost of Metro’s anti-automobile planning might be as much as $30 per day in lost time getting to and waiting for buses and Max.

    That Oregonian. It sure is funny except for its tabloid type Front page.


      I agree, the quality of the Oregonian drops each year.

  • Steve Plunk

    This study was commisioned by a group calling itself CEOs for Cities. Far from being CEOs these are public sector bureaucrats intent on keeping funding for transit projects and other big city pork projects. Look at the membership and board members on their website.

    The biggest flaws in any study such as this are 1) basic assumptions like the $15 per hour for auto usage and then using VMT to calculate the time. 2) Scratching the surface of the issue at hand. Why is VMT lower in Portland compared to an average of other cities and looking at those cities in more detail.

    To say more work is necessary would be an understatement.


      Thanks Steve, since it was an article in the Oregonian I knew there was probably a lot of info. that was ignored, fabricated and/or unreported.

  • Jerry

    I rest my case, Ken. Perhaps you are the one making the mistake for believing such a crock.
    Are you a happy commuter, Ken?
    Do you have a Prius?
    Or a little bike?
    Have you saved a lot of time lately taking light rail?
    Would you pay for light rail if it actually cost you what it costs all of us for the ride?
    Funny – you so easily call me names and make fun of me, but, as the others have shown you, the study is flawed and was sponsored by people who want you to believe everything is dandy due to light rail. Do you believe that, Ken?
    I sure wish I was a smart as you are….

    • Anonymous

      it’s funny how you rely on others to do work for you. do you ever provide evidence to your assertions and opinion?

      • Jerry

        Why not have others do my work? It is easier for me.

        • Anonymous

          oh, so you DO like to live off the fruits of others? classic hypocrite

  • Dave A.

    I found the part about being stuck in a car alone as being truly clueless. I drive a fairly new vehicle to work every work day. It is quiet and other than the traffic, I enjoy listening to what I want on the radio. My commute most days is uneventful and probably more pleasant than most. I don’t have to be stuck on some dismal bus or light rail car with dozens of others. I also save myself somewhere between 45-60 minutes each way by taking my car vs. public transit. Best of all when I arrive at the office, I have a reserved parking space under cover.
    This guy Cortright has written so many “shill” studies for the people at Metro and CofP I’m amazed the stupid local paper even bothers to cover this as news.

  • Chris

    Applauding evidence showing that Portland residents drive less is like burning down your house and saying, “problem solved, I no longer have to vacuum the carpet”. Portland bureaucrats have been working to make Portland “perfect” for decades. Their result? The last census showed that without immigration the city would have shrunk. In this state we call it “sustainability” when growth is all but eliminated. It’s the same reasoning that is used by applauding this study. Unemployment in OR is noticeably higher than the national average, economic growth is nil, the freeways are gridlock hell, and downtown PDX smells like urine. Portland’s standard of living may be going down, but at least our so-called growth is sustainable and thank goodness people are driving less. Our next step should be to outlaw hospitals, issue everyone a band-aid, and call it equitable universal health-care.

  • David

    To be fair, many of the funds present are restricted to certain types of projects, which do not include maintenence.

  • Ted Kennedy’s Liver

    The Newhouse brothers obviously strictly adhere to the journalist’s creed of never letting the facts get in the way of a good story.

    The “article” in question smacks of fake news. Fake news (I can’t recall the industry slang) is a press release masquerading as a news story. Lobbyists and/or PR companies write stories and get them placed in the media by friendly and/or lazy reporters or editors. You’ll notice the article references an interview with Joe Cortright, but does not does not say it was an interview by the Oregonian – something they never fail to point out when it is an Oregonian interview.

    The same thing happens in TV news. Ever see one of those “human interest” or “science” stories that have nothing to do with Portland and where the reporter is not on the staff of the media outlet running the story? The networks do the same thing. There was a case about five years ago where either CBS or CNN got outed for running pieces done by an advocacy group as “news.”

    To be fair to Mr. Rivera, it appears that he hasn’t merely passed on the press release verbatim; he did at least get a quote from the Cascade Policy Institute to add the appearance of balance.

    The big question is, of course, why anyone takes Cortright, a “researcher” with all the scruples and objectivity of a tobacco company “scientist,” seriously.

    A side note: any organization calling itself “CEOs for cities” whose membership and leaders are almost exclusively government bureaucrats can hardly be a trusted source – kind of like a group of pedophiles calling itself “People who are not perverts for Children.”

  • Terry Parker

    It is all about social engineering, masking opinion pieces as news stories and filling the heads of Portlanders with propaganda. For example, the $250 targeted for Portland/Milwaukie light rail could be better spent using it to fix or replace the Sellwood Bridge. When driving, each individual/family pays a variable road tax and the costs of operating the vehicle used to go where they want to go. Transit in many ways costs more because taxpayers fund the exorbitant costs of politically motivated infrastructure, subsidize the ridership and it only goes where the social engineers want it go, not where much of the public wants to go. A transit web that met everybody’s needs would be financially unsustainable. Bicycles don’t save tax payers and the community money either. Without a bicycle tax and license, bicycle infrastructure is not user paid as it should be. The money to fund and maintain it is poached from other taxpayers including motorists. And yes, the bicyclists have all the scripted answers: they own a car (parked cars do not pay user taxes when the bicycle is in use), they don’t take up any space on the road (two bicycle lanes take up approximately the same amount of pavement as one auto lane that carries more people), blaw blaw blaw. The fact is that hard core pedal pushers have a freeloading mentality whereby they think society should pay for all their lifestyle choices, their mobility needs, whims, bells, whistles and the luxury of having specialized infrastructure they exclusively use. The O article (a feel good editorial commercial for social engineering advocates) is a disguised opinion piece aimed at influencing the populous into supporting the political forces that advocate things like snail rail trolley systems and increasing socialistic controls on the public.

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