Sunday, June 05, 2011

Montreal bails out "bikeys" with $108 million

My favorite Portland blogger provides both a link to the story and a succinct summary of it's possible significance for Portland:

Up that way, the city has voted to bestow a $108 million bailout package on the private company that's running bike sharing. At 5,000 bikes in the system, that works out to $21,600 per bike. It's hard to believe we don't have this in Portland. It's obviously bikey, it privatizes profit potential while socializing risk, and its business model makes no sense. That's right up the Sam Rand Twins' alley. I guess none of the Goldschmidt people wanted to get into it.

San Francisco must be working on a similar program, and, sure enough, a quick search of the Bicycle Coalition's website tells us that our bankrupt city is getting in the bike-share game:

The first regional bike sharing program in the country is coming to San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Bike sharing is a great way to help more people take short trips by bike and to connect bicycle rides with transit trips. The initial pilot will launch with 1,000 bikes in 2011 with 500 of those bikes here in San Francisco along key corridors like Market Street and at major transit hubs. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is now hiring a Bicycle Sharing Program Manager to plan and oversee San Francisco's Bicycle Sharing project.

Naturally, such an important position requires a six-figure salary here in Progressive Land. Deficit? What deficit?

The MTA used to post the list of folks who worked in the Bicycle Program---there used to be nine on the staff---but they took it down some months ago.

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High-speed rail as a jobs program

Nothing wrong with a public project that creates jobs if the programs and the jobs are providing vital services to the public. But, as this blog points out every day, high-speed rail seems to be more about the money than the trains. 

The advertisement above is from the Daily Kos site, a stalwart force for progressive politics. The California High-Speed Rail folks knew their intended audience well: Government as a jobs program! Click on the picture, and you go to the CHSR website.

How many jobs will the California high-speed rail project create? Like their numbers on future ridership, the CHSR inflates the number of jobs the project will create. See a discussion of the inflated job numbers in this document (pages 85-87). See also the discussion on this website.