Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Honest-to-God fact and opinion on WES (Part one of a series)

So, you may all get the appearance that I set fire to anyone who likes the idea of capital projects. While I don't like that most of them cost an arm and a leg, or more literally, thousands of arms and legs, I do think at least one of them are good ideas in concept. So I'm going to list a few past, present and future Capital Projects, in the order of date. I'm going to start late, with WES. So yeah this isn't going to start too great, but there is going to be some insight.

So let's get started.

WES Commuter Rail (2009)

In everyone's honest opinion, this project is probably the least successful of TriMet's to date. I'm going to do some math, to see how long till we break even on WES, hypothetically. You may say it's quite an estimate, but you get the idea.

The WES in construction cost $166 million. Taking into account the probable 60/40 that the Federal and Trimet puts toward it most of the time, respectively, that's about $64,000,000. That's no Milwaukie Light rail, for sure, but it's got nowhere near the projected payoff.

The ridership so far is 1700 a month on average at the moment. $1700 X 2.35 X 52 weeks a year. This equals $207,740 a month.

You may ask, remember tax revenue? Well, revenue on passenger price is 22% of the total revenue. For Payroll Taxes they make 49%. (If you're curious, the rest is from other sources and state/federal grants. So Tax funds is 2.23 times passenger funds. This is an additional $463,260 a year. And 20 cents. Amounting to a total of $671,000 a year. And 20 cents. So get ready for this- without taking other factors like operating costs and some bonus revenue they might ever get, it will take 95 years to pay this off, and that's just the TriMet part of the deal.

And also consider this, by at LEAST 2050 I'm expecting floating cars and shoes that tie themselves, so by then surely we'll have something to easily outdate WES. Unless we, I dunno, make it a museum. By which we'll surely make more money than we do now. So, yeah, read this as point said- making a profit on WES- never gonna happen. I may be missing a crucial detail, but I'm rather certain I've examined all nooks and crannies. Also, there's the issue of people being annoyed by the horn during early morning. Not exactly the way I'd wake up, but they're working on that.

So, yeah. The main problem, and by far the biggest problem, is that $64,000,000 just went down the drain for $600,000 a year. But to be fair, this is really time saving for the people who use it right, saving at least a two hour trip without it from Wilsonville to Beaverton to about 30 minutes. Not bad. Cause I'm sure that's what a large portion are doing.

From Wilsonville to Portland, it may be faster, due to the times of line 96 which, if the conditions are right, equal about an hour. So does WES. However, odds are, there's traffic. It is I-5 after all. So yeah, WES and MAX are a better bet. I mean, it doesn't make up for the giant hill in the budget it left us with, but if we have it, we're making a little bit of profit off of it even past operation cards, and destroying it would just eliminate that tiny bit of profit not to mention cost millions in itself, we may as well enjoy it. And it has its pros. It makes it easier to get around.

So yeah, this is a classic example of "This was a waste of money but we can't change it so we may as well use it." Like buying a Wii instead of a couch and at least playing a Wii on the floor. Or selling the Wii and then getting the couch. But it's not like we can sell a huge diesel train and its tracks to anyone else.

Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to tackle the MAX Green Line. I do have a question that's bamboozling me. This is a copypasta from the April Green line statistics

MAX Green Line
Weekday trips averaged 19,600
Weekend trips averaged 24,700

Now does this mean that on Weekdays

The answer is probably gonna induce a facepalm but I wanna get the facts right. Anyway, I hope to get started soon. As in, not procrastinating this to death.


1 comment:

  1. It is common for light rail to have higher ridership on weekends than on weekdays...

    ...but I too am surprised about the Green Line Ridership. :)