Who ponies up for MLB stadium?
Dwight Jaynes' Jan. 13 On Sports column correctly cites the fiscally irresponsible Oregon Convention Center expansion and planned OHSU tram.
But then he becomes part of the problem, not the solution, when he goes on to say a major league baseball team wouldn't cost the taxpayers a dime: 'There is $150 million worth of stadium funding in place Ñ passed by the Oregon Legislature Ñ as the cornerstone of a new ballpark in Portland. That funding piece costs taxpayers nothing. Zip.'
I would have to ask, where did the state get the $150 million?
This politically expedient method of leading people to believe there is some magical source of government money has led to all of these fiscal fiascoes.
The argument saying, in effect, 'Don't worry, it's mostly federal money' (or state money, or county money, or city money) ignores the fact that taxpayers are the source of all of that money.
To spend $4 million to extend the streetcar one-fourth of a mile, using the justification that it's mostly federal transportation dollars, is a form of bait-and-switch. The politicians in Memphis are telling their constituents the same thing: 'Don't worry, it's federal money, the people in Portland are paying for it!'
Taxpayer financing to build a stadium is taxpayer financing, irrespective of its source. Our $150 million is better spent.
Thank cyclists, transit
riders for lower costs
OK, Mr. Parker, let's be good libertarians and have everyone pay for everything exactly as they use it (Funnel gas taxes to right ends, Readers' Letters, Jan. 3).
Start with motorists. State and federal gas taxes pay only a portion of the costs of building and maintaining roads. Income and property taxes Ñ which transit users and bicyclists also pay Ñ fund the rest, especially bond issues for local roads. In fact, state gas tax pays only 82 percent of the cost of just the state's portion of building roads. So immediately, your state gas tax goes up 18 percent. Let's be sure to surcharge the studded-tire users who do $10 million in damage annually to Oregon roads.
Now let's charge you the money it really costs to provide you with gasoline. That includes any federal, state or local tax breaks, direct subsidies and the military protection provided to oil companies. Eliminate those, and make the oil companies hire their own security. A recent statistic I read is that as a result, we could add about $3 a gallon.
Next, let's charge transit users five times what they pay now, as you suggest. Of course, most of them would abandon transit, and it would shut down, dumping, by TriMet's estimate, 300,000 additional car trips daily on the roads of Portland.
How does the real cost of providing road space for those 300,000 trips compare to the subsidy you pay for transit now? And that doesn't consider the costs to the community when many of those people will simply not be able to go to work. Or the costs to all of us as more people suffer chronic diseases as a result of air pollution.
How about insurance, and how those who drive less subsidize the risk for those who drive more? And the costs of traffic enforcement not covered by fines? Total all this up, and we're easily talking about Mr. Parker paying $6 to $10 per gallon of gas. That's just to accommodate current congestion. Build massive new roadways, and add that cost, too.
Now let's talk about what bicyclists should pay. Let's see, national standards require that roads be built with shoulders. So that's not a direct bicycle expense. The only real expense for bike lanes is paint.
Oh, and while we're being good libertarians, let's talk about people paying only for what they use in other areas. Let's see now, I don't have any kids, but I pay well over a grand a year in school taxes. Hmm É
Edward C. Broyles