Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's not to like about Least Cost Planning?

At the most abstract level, "least cost planning" makes intuitive sense, right? It's all about bang-for-our-buck. About efficiency.

At the Bike Summit, the Chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission, Gail Achterman, said that one the most important analytical tools moving forward will be least cost planning. The concept is in the current version of House Bill 2001.

Here's what the Governor's original proposal said:
The Governor proposes to direct the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to develop a least cost planning model – similar to what utility companies currently use – that will be applied when solving transportation problems. This modeling directs ODOT to consider the least cost option, such as increased investments in rail or transit, in order to relieve congestion, rather than just building additional capacity.
Who would oppose something like that?

Well, apparently the City of Salem.

In the May 7 Legislative Committee report, presented to Council last night, on HB 2001 the City said:

Least Cost Planning is about saving money! It's not about creating bureaucratic hoops and imposing "onerous burdens." It's about return on investment and cost-effectiveness. Getting the most people where they need to be for the smallest amount of money. What's not to like about that, even for the most conservative of businesspeople?

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