On 169 today

Metro tulsa is about the same size geographically and by population as Portland was in the mid-1990s, and by that point they had already cancelled 8 freeways, built one light rail line, were working to extend that across the other half of town, building a streetcar line, and in the preparation stages for a second streetcar line, and a third and fourth light rail line. This in addition to over 100 bus routes, about a third of of which are in frequent (7-15 minute) service during the day and most are in 15-30 minute service over longer hours than Tulsa Transit's daytime service. Oregon DOT's major expenditure for their part of the system this year is a token expense to complete a modernization project to make the downtown freeway loop fully variable speed limit in an effort to reduce traffic collisions and has no major upcoming overhauls (the Columbia River Crossing project is dead mostly because Vancouver, WA doesn't want a train, and there's just not the motor vehicle traffic volume to justify a billion dollar, 8 lane, 2 mile long freeway at the Interstate 5 drawbridge that would primarily benefit a few NIMBY's on the north side of the river).

It's hard to get a good bead on where the Tulsa budget is at, mostly because the city of Tusla doesn't consider bonds as part of the city budget (an accounting move I have a hard time is even legal, and it certainly isn't honest), and doesn't include the bus system (because they left it entirely unfunded). However, based on previous years spending and projections in the Fix Our Streets and Improve Our Tulsa bonds, along with OklaDOT spending on Tulsa's more than a dozen freeways, expressways and turnpikes, the city, county and state are fixing to spend nearly $700 million this year alone to move half as many people in just Tulsa County (excluding the rest of the metro area).

So, at it's most optimistic, we're spending twice as much to move half as many people right now, and getting a pretty low bang for the buck. Consider that the Portland area suffers a continously drizzly climate and nearly nonexistant summer, which makes for poor conditions for asphalt and concrete to set (if it even gets the chance) and rushed work make for a lousy end result. Despite this Portland's freeways have been repaved twice in my life (except for 217, which has been three times, because they tried to repave it with the same material jogging high school running tracks are made out of to save money and it wore clean through to the ballast in less than a year). Meanwhile, I 244's getting repaved for at least the second time since Bartlett's been mayor due to wear and tear. Despite the fact that there's literally a dozen redundant routes, because those routes are equally traffic-dense, if not moreso.

So, if we want to save money, we need to stop thinking about what it's going to take to build out past traffic volume and start acting like the laws of economics and physics do apply to us. We act like we're going to only have to do the job once every 30 years, then put 30 years worth of traffic over it in 4, and wonder what the hell happened...

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