Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quick Take on the Results

PPS construction bond: It's the economy stupid.  

In a period of prolonged unemployment and falling home values, this was a huge ask for Portland homeowners - too huge in fact. It didn't help that the PPS administration and the school board have inspired no confidence in their ability to manage anything of this magnitude after the whole high school redesign fiasco.

PPS levy: Immediate and real impact.

The levy will have an immediate and real impact on the education of our kids - and in ways that are measurably meaningful, most notably class size.  I think voters get this, they get the connection between the quality of the education system for Portland's kids and the type of economy and society that will evolve from these investments.

Clackamas Sellwood Bridge fee: Free rider problem exemplified.

Clackamas voters understood that the new bridge would be built anyway, why not get others to pay for it and get to use it for free? This is the classic free-rider problem in economics with public goods.

7 comments:

Cameron Mulder said...

I think that Multnomah County and the City of Portland should just shut down the Sellwood Bridge.

If the people who use it are not willing to help pay for it, then we should just shut it down.

I just don't understand why I, as a resident of both Multnomah county and the City of Portland should have to pay more for a bridge i NEVER use than people who actually use it.

Ben Price said...

I'd argue that you're forgetting that Clackamas county would love nothing more than to flip Multnomah county off for asking them to pick up a piece of the tab.

Cameron Mulder said...

I think we should do one of these options

1. turn it into a bike / pedestrian only bridge

or

2. Sell it to a private company to toll the crap out of the people who use it

Brian said...

This looks like a good opportunity for the region to begin an experiement with tolling. Put a toll on the bridge. But then give Multnomah county residents a free pass on the toll. Call it a Multipass.

This could have real benefits for Sellwood quality of life and home values if it transfers some of that traffic down to another bridge. I haven't looked for any traffic studies, but I guess if congestion on 43 is reduced then Lake Oswegons (or are they Oswegians?) and West Linners could get an incidental benefit as well.

R said...

I think Brian just wanted to use a Fifth Element reference.

Steve Buckstein said...

Brian is on to something. Tolling seems like the best way to get around the free-rider problem.

Unfortunately, liberals don't seem to like tolls because they think public goods should be "free."

Conservatives don't like tolls because...well...I'm still not sure why they don't, other than they seem to think the Constitution guarantees freedom of travel. On wagon ruts, perhaps; but modern roads and bridges cost money. Who better than the users to pay the bills.

Brian said...

Steve, I don't know that the liberal or conservative has a collectively common reason to oppose tolls.

Change is hard. Tolls are complex.

Multnomah should take the opportunity to ask Sellwood what Sellwood would like, since there isn't a partnership with Clackamas on this one. I can imagine that nobody in Sellwood is really very excited about hosting an arterial for Clackamas residents, and they might just as well turn the bridge into a pedestrian/bike bridge or close it.

If only we knew somebody that lived in Sellwood...