Why Shouldn't We?
Cincinnatians for Progress and other streetcar proponents are trying to convince you that voting on passenger rail tranportation is somehow unreasonable, and that you should lie down and let politicians make all your decisions for you. They think you're too stupid to known what's best for your own city.
Portland has an extensive transit system. But it wasn't a surprise gift from generous politicians. Taxpayers directed their government every step of the way through the ballot box.
- In the mid-1970s, TriMet began a study for light rail using funds intended for the cancelled Mount Hood Freeway. Voters approved funding for the project, and the first line opened in 1986.
- Light rail was again put to a vote in Portland in 1990 when 74% of the region’s voters approved a bond for construction on the West Side.
- Four years later, 64 percent of voters approved a larger bond for the South/North Project.
- In 1993 the region approached the state for matching funds and opponents forced extended legislative debate, but funding was approved.
- However, rail opponents gathered sufficient signatures to force a statewide election on the measure. Looks like honoring citizens' petition rights isn't just a California thing. State funding was then defeated in another public vote.
- In 1998, regional leaders placed the previously approved bonds on the ballot, necessary because the loss of state funding required a revised project. That was voted down.
- In subsequent years voters renewed previous tax increases and everyone settled into a comfortable pattern of reasonable transit growth. A diesel commuter rail line, aerial tram, and streetcars were added.
- Today Portland contemplates extending streetcar service to the community of Lake Oswego. Many residents have expressed reservations on the plan, so the transit authority has gone out of its way to include citizens in the process.
Mallory's recent trip to Portland winds up being just another wasted junket because he failed to learn the most important lesson of all. Voting doesn't "block" transit; it enables it. Enact the pro-vote charter amendment.