Testifying against a bill aimed at making the TriMet board of directors more accountable to taxpaying citizens, head honcho Neil McFarlane actually came out with this gem:
“I would sort of ask the question,” McFarlane said, “what is broken with TriMet?”
A better question would be: what isn't broken at TriMet? McFarlane claims that mounting employee health insurance costs are driving the agency toward a fiscal cliff, although he recently found nearly $1 million to dole out in pay raises to himself and 69 of his bestest, closest managers - most all of whom were already receiving six-figure paychecks.
The bill he was testifying against would turn the seven-member TriMet board from one exclusively consisting of gubernatorial appointees into a board appointed by folks at the local service level. As it stands, only one board member periodically rides transit; none of the others do. And McFarlane, now among the most highly-compensated of any transit agency head in the country, doesn't see a problem with the status quo.
What's broken? As one person commented, try this:
How about electric trains that have no power all day long and require buses for backup? How about Ticket Vending Machines that cancel your credit card when you're away from home and put you on a terrorist watch list? What's broken? How about millions of dollars in fare revenue that walk out the bus door every day because people won't pay, and drivers are fearful of assaults for asking them to? How about bridges to nowhere, and communities forced to pay for trains they don't want? How about bus drivers getting stabbed because of Neil McFarlane's "Rich bus driver" rhetoric, and divisive propaganda?
And how about an agency that keeps finding ways to fund multi-billion-dollar construction projects but complains incessantly about health insurance costs for drivers and mechanics?