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The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) Board this week approved a $1.93 billion budget for fiscal-year 2023, which will begin July 1.
The budget includes $748.9 million for day-to-day operations and $304.1 million for capital improvements. A base fare increase is not a part of the budget, continuing a 10-year trend, TriMet officials said in a press release.
TriMet was awarded $164.5 million in federal funding through the multiple pandemic-related programs, including the American Rescue Plan Act, funds from which are projected to last through early 2027. The agency is also supported by $78.8 million in operating revenue and $470.1 million in tax revenue, officials said.
The new budget's priorities include:
• restoring the workforce. TriMet plans to increase its current operator ranks by more than 300 employees to return service to pre-pandemic levels. Service was reduced 9% in January to match staffing levels, but employee departures have continued to outpace arrivals, leading to more system delays;
• capital investments. TriMet has several capital investment programs planned, including A Better Red/MAX Red Line Extension and Reliability Improvements Project, which calls for extending the Red Line into Hillsboro and adding track in northeast Portland to reduce delays. The light-rail vehicle fleet will also be replaced with new MAX trains arriving later this year;
• moving toward zero emissions. TriMet will expand its electrification program throughout FY2023 with testing of electric technologies; and
• ensuring system-wide equity. The transit agency plans to expand the Honored Citizen program that has offered income-based fares and reduced fares for seniors and people with disabilities since 2018. It offers unlimited rides throughout the transit system for $28 a month.