Are you getting tired of sitting in traffic for longer commutes while watching politicians do literally everything but build and fix roads? I am, and it’s one of the reasons I’m running for chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners.
I’ve always considered transportation one of the most important functions of government at all levels. It’s critical that people be able to travel freely and that companies can get products to their customers in a timely manner.
However, Clackamas County residents are more restrained by gridlock than ever before. That is due, largely, to misplaced priorities that fail to value how truly important your time and money are to you.
The fact of the matter is that the Portland metropolitan area has seen no new freeways in the last 45 years, even though the region’s population has increased significantly. What are the results? The average commute time in Clackamas County used to be half an hour. Now it’s triple that, at an hour and a half.
Current Clackamas County Commissioner Chair Jim Bernard has come out in support of several proposals that will cost you significant amounts of money, with no guarantees of improved commutes for drivers.
Clackamas County residents will soon see vehicle registration fees of as high as $300. This was done behind closed doors and did not go to a vote of the people, even though they will be paying for it. The worst part of this fee increase is that it does not include any congestion mitigation or pothole maintenance.
By contrast, I helped lead the fight in 2011 when Clackamas County residents were about to be forced to pay higher vehicle registration fees to replace the Sellwood Bridge, even though it’s located in Multnomah County.
Bernard has also come out in support of tolling. None of these tolls are going towards adding new capacity. You get to pay for the privilege of driving roads whose construction was funded decades ago and that you’ve been driving for free this whole time. That is not to mention the questionable legality of forcing residents to pay to drive on existing roads.
A transportation bond is being proposed for the November general election. However, just like with the other proposals I’ve mentioned, no plan on how to spend that money has been released to the public. And there’s good reason for that.
Metro and its political allies, including Bernard, have every intention of spending billions of dollars on another light rail boondoggle. This time, the line will extend from the west side of Portland down to Bridgeport Village.
These fixed line systems have never been financially self-sustaining, and never will be. In fact, they have seen ridership decline over time.
Yet taxpayers continue to subsidize these inefficient systems that the vast majority of them do not use and may not ever. Meanwhile, the potholes continue to grow and your commute gets longer by the day.
As chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, I intend to take a realistic approach to transportation and prioritize the maintenance of roads that you drive and have already paid for. I will continue to oppose tolling and vehicle registration fees that do nothing to fix potholes or add new road capacity, because you deserve better than to sit in traffic for no good reason.