City council has this morning voted to approve free all zones transit travel for 9th to 12th grade students in Portland Public Schools. The new "Youth Pass" program for students will be funded with $800,000 from Portland Public Schools, and using up to $2million in tax credits from the state's department of energy, which has a Business Energy Tax Credit program, that gives state money for transportation projects that decrease environmental impacts.
The ordinance was proposed by Mayor Sam Adams and afforded an opportunity for his fellow city commissioners to offer big-ups. City Commissioner Amanda Fritz said she had been shocked for her years as a public schools parent that children were required to pay, in one form or another, to get to school. "Sam Adams is an education mayor," she said. City Commissioner Randy Leonard said both he and mayor Sam Adams had attended public schools, although "unlike me, Sam has kept his hair." Leonard then praised Adams' efforts to ensure that all public school students could participate in the system.
Trimet recently axed its "fareless square" program in downtown Portland, in a move calculated to save just $800,000.