Streetcar will take toll on PSU finances

Dear PSU Community,

Poor, strapped PSU has been foxed by local developers and the city into paying the lion’s share of financing for the useless streetcar project about to disrupt our peaceful campus, according to the research of an economics master’s student.

It’s not bad enough that this streetcar will clang its way between classroom buildings putting students at risk of being run down. It’s not bad enough that the Park Blocks and the new Urban Plaza, two of our precious urban oases for people on foot, are being turned into yet another street. It’s not bad enough that this streetcar project appears to be a complete boondoggle, constructed without any thought for our real public transportation needs.

Worst of all, PSU property will be assessed at a rate up to 16 times what private, commercial property owners along the route will pay. Next year PSU will pay between 2.2 and 2.9 million dollars for this toy train in a year when we potentially face 8 percent cuts in our already very lean budgets.

What do you think they’ll cut to pay for this streetcar? Two to three million dollars buys a lot of faculty, financial aid, books, librarians, videos, childcare, journals, speakers and computers. Under budget pressure, campus security is reported to be cutting the escort service for next year, eliminating rape prevention efforts on our dimly lit urban campus.

But who needs these luxuries on a campus that enjoys streetcar service from the waterfront to the Pearl District?

Mary King
associate professor and chair
economics department