Due to the continued economic recession and declining payroll tax revenues, TriMet plans to cut its FY11 budget by $27 million, which includes a 5 percent administrative cut, a salary and hiring freeze, reductions to bus and MAX service, and a five-cent fare increase.
Last year, TriMet faced a $31 million budget shortfall and cut 9 percent to all areas except service, and implemented a salary and hiring freeze, layoffs and executive furloughs before looking to fill the balance of the shortfall by cutting bus and MAX service. In the past 18 months, TriMet staff has been reduced by more than 120 employees.
The agency faces a $27 million budget shortfall for FY11, and is using $7.2 million in federal stimulus funds to reduce the budget gap to $20 million. With the economy still in deep recession, TriMet expects payroll tax receipts to be down $15 million and passenger revenue down $8 million, with other assorted expenses adding up to a $27 million shortfall. TriMet gets 55 percent of its operating revenue from payroll taxes.
TriMet needs to cut approximately $8.7 million in transit service. On Wednesday, the agency began a three-month comment and refinement phase where the public can help shape the final service cut plan. Service changes take effect September 2010.
Criteria for service cuts include low ridership bus lines, low ridership trips on bus lines and MAX, alternative service available nearby, and the least impact to riders and available capacity on the vehicle.