MAX Light Rail is the centerpiece of the city's public transportation system (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The project to push light rail into Vancouver, Washington has suddenly generated a lot of news interest, as "consultants" hired by proponents are now claiming that tolls associated with a new interstate highway section that would be a component of the light rail project will generate a whole big pile of cash. This welcome news just coincidentally emerged in time for tomorrow's Oregon Senate vote on a $450 million package to fund "our share" of the project, although we don't actually have any money to fund it with.
Oddly, some folks are a little suspicious with regard to the rosy findings. Project backers have been claiming that there's going to be a huge traffic increase, any day now, and so we gotta get this new light rail line - and its bridge - built ASAP. Of course, traffic has been steadily declining in the corridor, but that's not important right now. They know that Portland's population is going to grow by 1.2 million in the next fifteen years as people flee rising sea levels and drowning polar bears associated with man-made global warming, so it's imperative to build streetcars and light rail lines and tons of cheap apartments, so we can be ready for the influx.
So thanks to long-time close friend of child rapist Neil Goldschmidt, Patty McCaig - who's spent hundreds of hours violating state law by lobbying legislators in Salem even though she isn't registered as a lobbyist as required, they figure they've got enough Democrat votes lined up to push this puppy through.
It may well be entirely irrelevant, however, as House Republicans in Washington state have assembled a transportation budget plan that includes zero funding for "their" portion of the project - and as their state Senate is essentially controlled by Republicans, it seems less likely that the state will agree to match Oregon's $450 million in borrowed money. If that turns out to be the case, Oregon won't borrow the $450 million for "our" share, either; with luck, that could kill the whole deal.