The Legislature is doing a good job of "hobbling" road and bridge investment and repair in Idaho already. It barely passed a road rehab bill last session ... then only funded a third of the unmet need. Diverting money to public transit is the least of auto transportation's woes, when you have the delinquent Idaho Legislature in the driver's seat!
I agree about local option and the need for a dedicated, stable funding source for transit. Boise's needs are different than Bonner's Ferry. State laws and funding strategies need to reflect local differences, instead of a single, state-wide standard that puts urban areas and rural counties on par many issues.
I also agree there needs to be more ridership as we invest more money into bus transit. That's why I've set a personal goal of riding the bus system at least a couple of times a month. Modest effort, but if everyone in the Treasure Valley did likewise, there'd be a huge boost in ridership, cash flow, and attitude about the need for better ways to navigate this region. Right now, it's all about driving alone.
I guess we're not that far apart in our thoughts, are we?
Why then is it OK to "hobble" transportation (roads and bridges) investment under a user pay system? I am in favor of investing in public transportation but it should not be funded using money raised for another purpose. It needs to have a dedicated funding source. I am in favor of local option so the voters can decide if they want to fund a transit system through taxes. I favor using the sales tax for this purpose. I also believe that the bar should be set high for these elections.
ACHD had an election several years ago that raises money through registration fees. It received 74% of the vote. If you make a compelling case for a circulator or a light rail system, it should be able to get a super majority.
We were close to having the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment that would have allowed local option. It failed due to the supporting coalition falling apart at the last hour. The fare box will never pay for public transportation but if I am paying for part of it, I want a well thought out system that is utilized a lot more than what we have now.
People "chose" to invest in automobiles ... when there was a vast shift in governmental policy, priorities, public works construction, and tax policy in the years following World War II that rewarded suburbanization, underwrote road-building, and steadily withdrew financial support from public transit systems?
People may have chosen to fall in love with their automobiles … but there was a heck of a lot of collusion on the part of local, state, and Federal, governments that stimulated that dramatic shift in how Americans move from place to place. Anyone who believes otherwise really just hasn't spent a lot of time studying and researching urban policy over the past six decades, or how private market forces -- abetted by government -- steadily withdrew support from rail and other forms of transit.
Someone who hobbles transit with the "user pay" mentality would probably agree with putting schools, libraries, hospitals, and fire departments on a "user pay" basis. If I don't use schools, libraries, hospitals, or fire service, the thinking goes, "Why should I pay for them?"
The assertion by the author and Ms. Fairless that the government subsidized the manufacture and sale of automobiles is absolutely false. What the federal, state and local governments have done is to charge fees that are associated directly with road system use. Paying gas tax, registration fees, etc. is what pays for the system construction, operation and maintenance. It is no different than what you pay for when you buy electricity, natural gas, water, etc. for your home or business. A component of what you pay for those services is used to construct, operate and maintain the system that delivers it to your location. Roads are no different.
A transportation system is a utility. Public transportation systems are true subsidized systems. The fare paid does not come remotely close to covering the cost of the system. In fact, taxes paid on gasoline by motorists help fund public transportation. Also, public transportation (bus, transit, etc.) only accounts for about .05% of personal trips in the United States. My observation of the current system is that it is vastly underutilized.
People CHOSE to invest in automobiles without any subsidization. It is a user pay system.
The trains will be empty, the trucks will be plenty, and we will all be at church on Sunday.
How do we know that private schools are better for our children? Because Obama sends his kids to private school; because every politician sends their kids to private schools. Public Schools are for the masses where Govt. can control the propaganda efforts. Public Schools is where you learn about condoms, drugs, Earth Day, Climate Change, Evolution, Health, and other stuff like that that is irrelevant to real education. Private Schools, are very selective about the subjects they teach, and don't have the resources to teach irrelevant subjects.
Now, liberals love public schools as an agenda item, not that they would send their kids there if they had the money to send them to private school. They want public school level regulations over private schools, because private schools don't produce enough good liberals.
I think you're exactly right, Jason D. As long as the city of Boise remains under the heavy-handed and punitive thumb of the Idaho Legislature, it will remain a truncated city, constrained by state law and arcane funding restrictions from becoming a truly great city with ability to innovate and adapt as circumstances arise. If we can't fund mundane things like a bus system -- like practically every other American city over 100,000 in population does -- there's little chance we'll be able to do other, more imaginative things. Perhaps that's what is intended.
This "local control" business seems to flow in only one direction. The Legislature rants and raves about the Federal Government and demands state autonomy on so many issues … yet when cities and towns in Idaho seek the same freedom, the heavy shoe of the Legislature drops.
Also, no one ever mentions the rail yards. Where are the trains going to be maintained and stored overnight? These places take up acres of land surrounded by thousands of feet of ugly chain link fence topped by razor wire. Lovely. Let's not forget the weeds that will inevitably grow. Here's a pic of just one of three dedicated passenger rail yards in SLC:
You know what, I already know where the rail yard will go. In west downtown where the city has crammed all the homeless and now wants to put a tax exempt community college.
Hey BW, you really going to let trolls take over? Look what happened to the NMB.
Hey TLD, sure a trolley is farfetched but Front/Myrtle are much much worse than when they opened in 92. Hell, Front is backed up during midday now. What's going to happen to Front/Myrtle when downtown is fully built out?
How much of that traffic is just cut through traffic going from the western suburbs to the Harris Ranch/Parkcenter eastern suburbs?
David, one of the main obstacles to funding a real transportation system is the Statehouse - by law, Boise (or any Idaho city except small resort towns) cannot opt to enact a sales tax, even with voter approval, which is the way most other cities pay for public transportation. So, anyone who visits Boise and complains about traffic, remember that the next time you head to the polls or write your representative.
But, the mayor of the city wants his trolley! If he gets defeated, he'll go down spending er... fighting .... with our money. We're already into his intended legacy tens of thousands for studies, investigative travel for him and his team, public promotions, marketing, etc., etc., -- when we were living on the tightest budgets in years/generations with schools destitute. We're struggling to get back on our feet and he's going to need more money. Really poor timing!
I wrote an op-ed in the 6/3 "Statesman" on bus transit. Glad to have this BW update and know that improvements are pending. (Also glad to know that even Afghanis are curious about what's happening behind the mysterious curtain around downtown's new transit center!)
I think any self-respecting city that funds its transit on cash box coins and voluntary grants is hobbling itself from the start. Not many American cities do that, just like they don't fund their libraries and fire departments by annually "passing the hat". Boise needs to systematically re-think its transit funding.
And much as I would like a street car or light rail system, I think it's currently too ambitious for Boise, where the mass transit "culture" is embryonic. Better upgrade traditional buses first, then move to the next step. You have to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run. Currently, we're just crawling through the City of Trees.
I am less concerned about the "back and forth" with the Industrial Commission than I am about the cookie-cutter "model bills" ALEC playlist bills showing up in Idaho. Does no one else wonder why we have "rugged individualist" politicians eagerly lapping up whatever far-right big-corporation-friendly garbage ALEC pitches them? While I appreciate BW for taking a look, the focus of the story seems blurry. Keep digging please.
The ALEC promo/puff piece with Jeff Thompson is sort of interesting. I noticed that the q and a around "What makes Idaho so attractive?" was at the level of chamber of commerce/real estate boosterism, and founded on the erroneous inference that since people are moving here from elsewhere, we must be doing something right. As compared to... well, we're not digging in that far.
Far too many acronyms in this story, and they get in the way of the story itself -- so much so that the reader loses the "thread" of the story. One acronym isn't even defined in the story -- "IBR" (I'm assuming that means "Idaho Bureau of Revenue"?)
It's a good and important story, but the storytelling leaves something to be desired and diminishes the significance of what's going on. It's like trying to tell the Watergate story by focusing on the flow chart of the Committee to Re-elect the President and missing the bigger picture.
In Washington state, the Washington Policy Center (equivalent to IFF), needs to come out of the closet about its Siegfried and Roy-type relationship with ALEC.
Should WA Republicans take the governor's mansion and the House in 2016, I'll expect more ALEC/WPC bills to get passed in the legislature.
ALEC is a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists and get a tax break for donations, passing these lobbying costs on to taxpayers.
Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations.
More than 98% of ALEC's revenues come from sources other than legislative dues, such as corporations, corporate trade groups, and corporate foundations.
ALEC describes itself as a non-partisan, non-profit organization. The facts show that it currently has one Democrat out of 104 legislators in leadership positions.
Unelected corporate representatives (often registered lobbyists) sit as equals with elected representatives on nine task forces where they have a “voice and a vote” on model legislation.
Although ALEC claims to take an ideological stance (of supposedly "Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty"), many of the model bills benefit the corporations whose agents write them, shape them, and/or vote to approve them.
ALEC makes old-fashioned lobbying obsolete.
Once legislators return to their state with corporate-sponsored ALEC legislation in hand, the legislators themselves become “super-lobbyists” for ALEC’s corporate agenda, eliminating the middleman.
ALEC and the legislators who work for them should be sent to GITMO forever. They're nothing short of terrorists.
I really appreciate the article in bringing ALEC out to the public view. I really think that if more people understood what path ALEC has taken this country down over the years more people might respond by voting. This is real news, not fluff. Grammatical and factual (George not Robert ) errors really take away from the story though. I also enjoy reading your editor's notes every week. Please keep up the great reporting.
Ok you've maid your point, now can we get back on topic here? I'm upset that this lobbiest is able to take total control of our state. He was not elected The Democrats aught use this and hammer it home to Idahoans in next election. Money should be taken out of our elections, there should be a limit on how much each candidate can spend.
© 2017 Boise Weekly
Website powered by Foundation