|Standard Oil Monopoly, 1904. Detail: Library of Congress|
|Blue Skies on Tolling!|
The latest is an "investment grade" analysis of tolling prepared by ODOT. First off, wouldn't an investment grade analysis come from an independent third party in the financial services sector? Instead we get something rather self-serving from ODOT!
Interestingly, from internal evidence in the report, the Oregonian concludes tolling will depress traffic on the I-5 bridge and create diversion to the untolled I-205 bridge. This will exacerbate friction from Clackamas County.
Additionally, State Treasurer Wheeler is still signalling uncertainty or even scepticism.
So these things run counter to Governor Kitzhaber's public optimism/insanity (you pick).
Tomorrow the Legislature kicks off with a meeting of The Joint Legislative Committee on Interstate 5 Bridge Replacement.
Will it be a real hearing? Or will it be a carefully managed stage show?
Why should Salemites care? Because without a resolution on this issue, the rest of the state transportation funding priorities cannot realistically be settled. It's the big domino, and once it falls, others will go in sequence. Or at least once it goes, others can jostle for position and be debated. Elswhere there is speculation on jockeying for a 2015 big package of legislation.
You can see why here. There's no money. We should raise the gas tax, but that will not be easy.
|State funding falls off a cliff! via N3B|
Back in a November 2011 memo to the House Interim Committee on Transportation and Economic Development, ODOT Director Matt Garrett called out big problems with debt service:
The Oregon Transportation Investment Act (OTIA) and Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA) programs frontloaded resources...allow[ing] ODOT to build projects much faster than under a “pay-as you-go” funding approach. However, bonding billions of dollars requires paying significant debt service. By 2015 when all the JTA bonds are sold, ODOT expects to pay over $210 million a year out of the State Highway Fund for debt service. The vast majority of the additional revenue ODOT received from the OTIA and JTA programs will go to debt service or to other purposes specified by the legislature. [italics added]
|Commercial Street Bridge Replacement, June, 2013|
Salemites should also care about the CRC debate because the SRC is Mini-Me to the Dr. Evil of the CRC, and many of the issues are cognate if not identical.
Back to the Leg, deadlines to file bills pre-session haven't passed, so there's nothing there to comment on yet. The session formally starts on Monday, February 3rd and goes through March 9th (calendar here). Not sure what coverage here of the Legislative session will look like. There may not be much of significance for transportation, and if so, coverage will be spotty, even less than a once-a-week update.