From Portland Afoot
John Charles is president and CEO of the Cascade Policy Institute, a free-market think tank based in southwest Portland. He is a longtime critic of TriMet policy and regularly conducts research to identify flaws he sees in the agency's projects and programs.
 Opinions about TriMet
Charles supports increasing TriMet fares to fully cover the agency's cost of service, with discount vouchers for low-income residents.
He supports opening TriMet facilities to use by private jitney services, which he thinks could move people around town more efficiently.
He has opposed MAX and WES as too expensive to justify their construction or expansion, and believes that transit-oriented development is largely the result of public subsidies and mandates by other agencies, not market forces.
He frequently warns that the post-employment medical benefits TriMet offers employees are unsustainable and represent a huge and unplanned expense that could hurt future service.
As of 2008, Charles's salary was $101,250 annually, according to IRS filings on Guidestar.org.
Charles joined CPI in 1997 as environmental policy director and was promoted to CEO in 2005. Before joining CPI, Charles served as executive director of the Oregon Environmental Council for 17 years.
He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a master's in public administration from Portland State University.
As of 2010, Charles identifies as a "classical liberal" and says he is not a conservative.
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