Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The City's Budget and Transportation: Thrift and Making Do with Less

In the Statesman was a piece about the most recent projected $10.5M shortfall in the Salem budget and community meetings to brainstorm and prioritize corresponding reductions to follow.

According to the City:
To insure financial stability during the five-year forecast period, the City of Salem will need to reduce $10.5 million over the next three budget years, including $1 million from the current budget. Attendees will receive a presentation on the forecast and have the opportunity to provide input regarding budget priorities.
Times and places of the meetings are as follows:
  • Monday, January 30, 6-8 p.m., West Salem Roth’s
  • Thursday, February 2, 6-8 p.m., South Salem High School library
  • Monday, February 6, 6-8 p.m., Salem Coalition for Equality, 3850 Portland Road NE (Spanish speaking event)
  • Wednesday, February 8, 6-8 p.m., Center 50+, 2615 Portland Road NE
Instead of wild road expansion - which will make it more difficult to get to Roths, by the way! - the City ought to promote thrift, thrift in households and thrift in capital budgets.

(Click to enlarge)

An easy way to whack almost $12,000 from household yearly budget is to ditch the second car!

A corresponding capital investment by the City in active transportation would be equally thrifty. Call it ROI, or bang-for-your-buck, bikes offer a huge return.

25,000 e-Bikes = $433 Million in Savings

Here's another way to think about it.

A few months ago, maybe you saw the GM advertisement that implicitly calls college students who bike "losers" and suggests they upgrade to a fancy new car.

Giant took up the gauntlet and released this satire - which actually also plays straight!

This bike from Giant is about $2,250.

If you added a $500 allowance for rain gear, and purchased a $2,750 eBike commute package for 24,239 people, that would cost less than $67,000,000.

Here's a $500 million project.

According to the City Council ward reapportionment project, there were 24,239 people living in West Salem in 2010.

A bike, with a battery for the hills, and a outerwear package for every resident: That's $433 million in savings!

So sure, that's an reductio ad absurdam argument, but it shows how we argue on the details and miss big picture things that would really help us thrive in the changes to come.

As always, your local bike shop can help!

Bike Peddler
Santiam Bicycle
Scott's Cycle
South Salem Cycleworks

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