Bus

TriMet revises proposal to close budget shortfall

Posted on March 14, 2012

After five weeks of public comment and outreach, TriMet released a refined proposal to close the $12 million to $17 million shortfall in its upcoming Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget that begins July 1, 2012. The full proposal is available at trimet.org/choices.

TriMet has targeted $12 million in cuts and changes to take effect in September 2012. The changes have been scaled back for two key reasons. The agency is required by state law to adopt a balanced budget in June, but the unsettled labor contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 (ATU) will not be resolved until after the budget begins. TriMet is proposing $12 million in cuts and changes now, and depending on the outcome of the arbitration of the contract, may need to cut an additional $5 million during the FY13 budget.

With the slow economic recovery, TriMet expects to receive about $3 million less in payroll tax revenues than previously anticipated. Additionally, TriMet estimates a $4 million cut in federal formula funds that are used for preventive maintenance; the agency receives $40 million to $45 million annually.

The unresolved union contract adds $5 million to $10 million to the FY13 budget shortfall. The contract expired in 2009 and both parties are heading to interest arbitration scheduled for May 2012. A recent Employee Relations Board decision removed certain cost-saving proposals from TriMet's final offer.

The refined budget proposal includes:

•    Eliminating fare zones/move to flat fare system, providing $6 million in additional revenue.

•    Eliminating the Free Rail Zone, providing $2.7 million in additional revenue. This change would eliminate free rides on MAX in Downtown Portland and the Lloyd District.

•    Selling ads on the TriMet website, bringing in $300,000 in additional revenue.

•    Enacting internal efficiencies, providing $1.2 million in savings. The original proposal from February called for $500,000 in savings. By identifying these internal efficiencies and program cuts it will minimize service cuts and impact to riders. During this recession, TriMet has already cut 200 positions, frozen salaries for non-union employees now in its fourth year and required greater cost sharing for health care benefits.

•    Service cuts, providing $1.1 million in savings. The original proposal from February totaled $2 million in cuts. No elimination will be made to weekend bus or MAX service, except for the elimination of free rides in the Free Rail Zone.

•    Adjusting the LIFT paratransit service boundary, providing $400,000 in savings. TriMet's current LIFT door-to-door paratransit service exceeds Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations.

•    Reducing TriMet contribution to the Portland Streetcar, providing $300,000 in savings.

"Our revised proposal reflects the priorities we clearly heard from the public, which was to preserve service as the highest priority," said TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Albuquerque BRT project exploring full sponsorship

ABQ RIDE is looking to model its plan after the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s HealthLine, which is sponsored through a hospital partnership. Construction on the so-called ART system could begin in May 2016 with an in-service date of September 2017.

New luxury bus service launches in San Francisco

The service, which costs $6 a ride, asks riders to download the Leap app, creating an account, uploading a photo and adding a credit card that enables them to pay via a QR code.

4ONE wins multiple bus seating orders

Agencies ordering the company's products, which are now in at least half of all new U.S. and Canadian transit buses, include L.A. Metro, Chicago Transit Authority and New York City Transit.

New Flyer awarded big Las Vegas CNG bus contract

The contract includes a firm order for 35 XN40 and 20 XN60 Xcelsior buses, with an option for another 150 XN40 and 100 XN60 over the next five years. All buses are to be powered by CNG.

Pierce Transit taps Apollo for video surveillance

The decision comes after the agency conducted an analysis and product review period. Implementation of the project began in February and all work is expected to be completed by the end of April.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

Please sign in or register to .    Close