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3/15/2012



Rail News: Passenger Rail

TriMet refines proposal to close budget shortfall


Yesterday, the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) released an updated proposal to close the $12 million to $17 million shortfall in its fiscal-year 2013 budget that begins July 1.

TriMet has targeted $12 million in cuts and changes that would take effect in September. Proposed fare increases and service adjustments have been scaled back because the agency is required by state law to adopt a balanced budget in June, but an unsettled labor contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 (ATU) will not be resolved until after the budget begins, TriMet officials said in a prepared statement.

The contract expired in 2009 and both parties are heading to interest arbitration scheduled for May. A recent Employee Relations Board decision removed certain cost-saving proposals from TriMet's final offer.

TriMet now is proposing $12 million in cuts and changes, and depending on arbitration, may need to cut an additional $5 million from the FY2013 budget.

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

Later this month, TriMet plans to hold public hearings on the revised budget plan.



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