Ferry service in Portland seems to have ended in the 1920s. I can understand why such a service died when the alternative was a quick drive over the bridge, but crossing the bridges isn't exactly quick these days. Isn't it time for a rush-hour water taxi? — Brian

Come, come, Brian; you know the answer to this question. It's the same one your mom gave every time you walked past a toy store. Let's you, me and a 2006 feasibility study commissioned by the city all say it together: "We can't afford it!"

"No fair! Seattle's government let them have a water taxi!"

"If Seattle jumped off a fiscal cliff, would you jump off after it?"


"Seattle had an existing ferry infrastructure of docks and terminal facilities dating back decades, not to mention a Puget Sound ferry fleet ripe for repurposing. Your father and I would have to build all that stuff from scratch, to the tune of God knows how many millions of dollars. We just bought you a $57 million aerial tramway, why don't you play with that?"

"It's stupid. It doesn't even go anywhere."

"What about that $157 million streetcar we bought you? That goes somewhere…sort of."

"You didn't even buy that; it was from Uncle Sam!"

"Well, mister, if you think you can persuade your Uncle Sam to buy you a water taxi, you just march right up to Capitol Hill and ask him. Even if you get it, you'll need to cough up almost $7 per person, per trip, just to cover operating costs."

"The report said $5.55!"

"That was in 2006 dollars. Why are you so in love with flashy transit options that don't pay for themselves? Don't you want some nice sidewalks for your eastside?"

"Ugh, poor people."

"Yeah, sport, I guess you're right—they're gross, huh? What say you, me and our 200 favorite real estate developers price them all out to Gresham and then get ice cream?"

"Oh, boy! It's a deal!"