TriMet releases $505M budget

Plan calls for increased fares for elderly, disabled.

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TriMet says it needs $505 million to operate in 2016.

The proposed budget calls for improvements to service — notably the new orange line MAX route — as well as an uptick in charges for the elderly and disabled, the Portland Tribune reports.

“This budget provides a lot for our riders, with more service, more connections and better transit options,” says TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane. “The highlight is fully restoring our Frequent Service network and the expansion of the MAX Orange Line with more connections for our riders.”

The agency is proposing to increase Honored Citizen fares to half the cost of adult fares, as allowed by the TriMet and Federal Transit Administration guidelines. If approved, the single ride Honored Citizen fare would increase from $1 to 1.25. Monthly passes would increase from $24 to $26. The new fares would take effect on Sept. 1. Honored Citizen fares have not increased since 2010. No other fare increases are included in the proposed budget, which is scheduled to take effect on July 1 and lasts through June 30, 2016. The proposed budget would also accelerate the agency’s bus purchase program, fund infrastructure, maintenance and safety improvement projects, and increase the pay of both union and non-union employees.

The budget should resolve some of the technical and maintenance problems associated with MAX service, writes.

About $600,000 will be used to repair the troublesome electrical system on Portland’s Steel Bridge, which has caused  MAX service disruptions in recent years. Another $155,500 will be used to upgrade the light-rail signaling system.

After deferring millions of dollars in rail maintenance and rebuilding during the Great Recession, TriMet is also in the process of spending $9.5 million on replacing 21 deteriorating rail switches, many of which have malfunctioned and caused repeated service meltdowns in recent years, according to maintenance logs and other records obtained through a public records request by The Oregonian.A total of $5.9 million would be dedicated to track, signal and switch maintenance projects.


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