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May 23, 2013

TriMet FY 2014 budget includes bus, safety upgrades

Portland, Ore.-based TriMet adopted its Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) budget following more than two months of broad community outreach, review, and approval from Multnomah County’s Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission.

The $485 million operating budget, which will take effect July 1, 2013, touts budget priorities aimed at providing better service for riders, upgrading the bus fleet, and safety and maintenance improvements.

Budget priorities include:

• Accelerating new bus purchases, eliminating all older high-floor buses and reducing the average age of the fleet to the industry standard of eight years by 2017; $8.8 million for three years.

• Increasing bus service on 14 lines to address schedule reliability and rush hour overcrowding; $2.1 million annually.

• Continuing the Access Transit Fare Programs (previously called the Low-Income Mitigation Program); $1.3 million annually.

• Hiring eleven operators to comply with the Hours of Service policy for bus operators; $1 million a year.

• Increasing the contribution to union unfunded defined benefit pension fund; $4 million in FY14, $2 million in Fiscal Year 2015.

• Increasing light rail vehicle and track maintenance, plus improving lighting and station renewal along the MAX system; $9.5 million.

• Improvements to portable restroom locations for operators, construction of a new restroom facility, and acquire property for a new layover/restroom location $1.2 million.

• No fare increase (a loss of $2 million in revenue) or service cuts planned.

“We are committed to reinvesting in our transit system; updating our aging fleet; and make targeted improvements for both our riders and employees, to ensure long-term reliability, safety and comfort,” said TriMet GM Neil McFarlane.

The operating budget is contingent upon the arbitration award for the expired contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union being upheld and TriMet’s new contract offer is agreed upon.

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