Monday, July 13, 2020
July 13, 2020

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Letter: All infrastructure takes funding

The Columbian

In a Nov. 25 letter, “Difficult to uncover financial benefit,” Laura Jones excoriated light rail because it will “never pay for itself.” Can Jones name any element of public transit, from bridges (even with tolls) to highways to buses to any sort of rail, that does pay its own way?

Battle Ground has laid off staff and faces austerity, despite higher taxes, at least partly because of high cost demands for maintenance of infrastructure.

County Commissioner-elect David Madore, making plans to shake up county government, suggests, among other things, that eliminating impact fees will be a good thing. Impact fees are intended, as I understand it, to require developers to cover the costs their projects impose on local government, such as more policing, more traffic, more schools — infrastructure, in other words.

Requiring public transit to pay its own way won’t provide much infrastructure and neither will it eliminating impact fees.

Battle Ground’s approach, cutting staff and raising taxes, undoubtedly is necessary and sensible in the short term, but hardly seems to be the best long-term approach to providing infrastructure, let alone maintaining it.

George Cheek


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