The structure and dynamics of the regional transport regime in Portland, Oregon, are discussed and its consensus decision-making process through a series of challenges to the regime is explored. These challenges include (a) cultivating new sources of project finance as the federal government reduces its contribution, (b) integrating transport projects with regional and local land use plans designed to manage urban growth, and (c) intensifying competition between business centers within the region as rapidly growing suburban business centers seek transport projects that will facilitate locally oriented economic growth. Initially, the institutional and normative elements of the regional consensus process are discussed. Then a set of case studies that illuminate the challenges contronting the regime and the nature of regime responses is developed. To conclude, the future stability of the regime is considered. The challenges call into question the stability of the informal institutional character of Portland's regime that has prevailed since it was created. Clearly, an informal, consensus-based decision process functions well when compensatory resources are available to mitigate zero-sum consequences of decisions. Whether the process can sustain itself without being able to remediate the consequences of internal regime resource allocations is the true test of an institutionalized versus a noninstitutionalized regime.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sy_adler/19/