TriMet's budget cuts may not be as brutal as previously drafted! Instead of a $17 million budget gap, TriMet formally announced at today's board meeting that it is only looking at a $12 million shortfall to make up for.
Okay — so they're still a doozy, but the $5 million reduction definitely makes a difference when it comes to cuts.
Why the change? An unsettled labor contract (that could grant the additional funds) with the local transit union will not be resolved by the start of the fiscal year in July. However, Trimet's not entirely in the clear. If TriMet loses the arbitration, it's still $5 million short.
A follow-up to the board's February meeting on its initial budget proposal, today's unveiling of the revised proposal made the suggested cutbacks a little less daunting. Get the run down of the modified cuts after the jump.
Round-Trip Fares: Instead of a 2-hour transfer only being valid for a one-way trip, the new plan maintains current transfer rules that don't limit round trips.
Selling Ads on TriMet Website: No one likes ads, but better here than on the TriMet Tracker. You can't close your ears.
Service Cuts: Instead of $2 million in cuts, the new plan only aims to make $1 million, thanks to combining nearby bus lines and eliminating buses with very low ridership.
Reducing Streetcar Contribution: TriMet would slash its contribution to the Portland Streetcar by $300,000 instead of $400,000.
CUTS THAT STAY THE SAME:
Eliminate the Free Rail Zone: The last step in slashing Fairless Square. No more free MAX rides downtown. Womp womp.
Cutting non-union jobs and benefits: Or as TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane put it, "realigning administrative resources."
Reducing LIFT service: People with disabilities who can't ride the bus and MAX would see their door-to-door LIFT service offered during fewer hours.
So are you all riled up or ridiculously satisfied with the changes? Let TriMet know! The public comment period last until Friday, April 6. Send 'em a message or come to one of their public hearings: