The TriMet bond measure, which would have paid for new bus shelters, LIFT vehicles and 150 new buses, was narrowly defeated in this month’s election. As a result, the agency says they will not be able to add shelters or make other bus stop improvements and, while they will still purchase some new buses, they won’t be able to get as many as they’d like. Funding for the new MAX line that will move riders between Portland State University and North Clackamas County was not affected by the levy defeat. It is still slated to open in 2015, despite a reduction in funding from the federal government.
Developing a new light rail project while cutting bus services earlier this year (before the November election) did not go over well with some, even though funding often comes partially from dedicated federal dollars that must be applied to a specific mode of transportation (which includes buses). Some say that bus service should be TriMet’s prime concern because it serves people who are dependent on public transit, rather than those who choose to ride rather than drive. Given the many contributing factors, there are no simple arguments for either buses or rail service at the expense of the other. In Eugene, rapid transit means buses, not light rail and the debate over whether or not this is the best option is just as heated.
Do you use public transportation? Why or why not? How could trains or busses serve you better?
- Neil McFarlane: TriMet General Manager
- Michael Andersen: Editor of Portland Afoot
- Carlotta Collette: Interim Metro President, District 2 councilor and lead councilor on the High Capacity Transit System Plan
- Jon Ostar: Environmental law attorney and co-director of OPAL
- Andy Vobora: Director of service planning, accessibility and marketing for the Lane Transit District