Fiscal year 2022 adopted budget reflects revised payroll tax revenues and a new Working and Wage Agreement
TriMet’s adopted budget for the coming year focuses on bringing riders back to our transit system as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic begin to subside. In addition, the budget paves the way for TriMet to continue our efforts to reimagine safety and security on our transit system to ensure it is safe, equitable and welcoming to all. The new budget takes steps to improve the overall experience of using transit and advances efforts to improve our service into the future. Initiatives include adopting and exploring new opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint, advance climate action goals and do our part to create an environment that’s better for everyone.
On June 23, 2021, TriMet’s Board of Directors adopted the revised budget for fiscal year 2022, which begins on July 1, 2021 and runs through June 30, 2022. It sets aside more than $754 million for day-to-day operations and nearly $368 million for capital and operating projects.
Focusing on the customer and maintaining best business practices
Despite the challenging turn that took place in 2020 with COVID-19, TriMet remains focused on serving the community in the coming year. Our priorities include:
- Bringing riders back to the transit system
- Reimagining safety and security on the transit system
- Improving the customer experience for riders
- Managing resources to maximize cost benefits
- Ensuring financial resiliency
- Maintaining and executing planned capital projects
For the ninth straight year, TriMet will not increase fares.
The adopted budget is $278.7 million more than the approved version. It includes an additional $148.3 million in day-to-day operating expenses and an additional $67 million for capital and operating projects. That’s due to an increase in payroll tax revenue projections, additional federal relief funds available, our new union contract and investments in reducing TriMet’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Ongoing investments to make transit better
Making transit safe, welcoming and equitable to all
TriMet is working with community members, community partners and stakeholders to make our transit system work for everyone.
Reimagining Safety and Security on the Transit System – Following extensive outreach and research, TriMet is continuing to put plans to reimagine safety and security into action as we head into the next year. In July 2020, we redirected $1.8 million in police contract and additional funding to explore new, community-based services to expand our safety approach. We are currently looking for people who would like to have a seat at the table and join the Reimagining Public Safety Advisory Committee. Learn more at trimet.org/publicsafety.
Maintaining and expanding our reduced-fare program – With funding from Keep Oregon Moving, TriMet will not only continue our industry-leading reduced-fare program with the next budget, we will take steps to expand it. Since mid-2018, TriMet has enrolled more than 32,000 people in our program that offers reduced fares to people living on a low income. With fewer people going to work and school in 2021 and early 2022, many allowed their enrollment to expire. Now, with more people heading back to jobs as we begin a new budget, we’ve prepared to help them sign up and save on their transit costs. Learn more at trimet.org/lowincome.
Helping through Access Transit programs – TriMet provides free fare through grants to community-based organizations, non-profits, social service agencies and high school students whose families live on a low-income. Free fare grants now total over $2 million and continue to be a priority for the next year. Learn more at trimet.org/accesstransit.
Building better, faster transit for the future
Major efforts are underway to make transit faster and more reliable in the year ahead and for decades to come as we work with our partners to make transit better.
Division Transit Project – Construction on the Division Transit Project is more than 50% complete and will continue through the next year, with service expected to begin in the fall of 2022. The Division Transit Project brought more than $87 million in federal funds to the region. It will create a new type of high-capacity bus service to move people faster and more efficiently between Gresham and Downtown Portland. The project, which includes critical safety improvements for the Division Street corridor, is expected to create more than 1,400 jobs and projected to bring more than $137.7 million in economic value to the region.
Better Red – The “Better Red” MAX Red Line Extension and Improvements project is also expected to create new jobs when our region needs them most as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuing development and beginning construction on the Better Red project is included in next year’s budget. Not only will it bring with it additional federal funds, it will set up the entire MAX system for improved reliability and resiliency for decades to come. Better Red will also extend the MAX Red Line to ease crowding on trains between Beaverton and Hillsboro.
Clearing the air, improving our climate
TriMet remains committed to converting to a non-diesel bus fleet by 2040, and we’re already taking steps on multiple fronts to do our part for the environment and our community. There’s much more to come in our next budget.
More renewable energy – In June 2021, TriMet announced it was converting our electric MAX light rail system, as well as all TriMet-owned facilities, to 100% renewable energy. They, along with our electric buses, are now powered by renewable sources like solar and wind. TriMet will continue to invest in renewable energy next year and beyond as we transition to a non-diesel bus fleet.
Expanding our zero-emissions bus fleet – TriMet’s zero-emissions bus fleet is expanding, and the next budget allows us to continue to test new technologies to find the right fit for the driving and weather conditions the buses will encounter throughout our service area. Our initial fleet of five electric buses has already grown to six, and we expect to see additional buses come on board later this year. As electric technology continues to emerge, we are also beginning to explore exciting alternatives such as hydrogen fuel cells and others.
Working and Wage Agreement
At their April 28 meeting, TriMet’s Board of Directors approved a new Working and Wage Agreement between TriMet and ATU 757. The contract was approved by 87% of union members who voted on the agreement. While it resulted in increased expenditures in next year’s budget, it allows for TriMet to restructure maintenance and training, better manage operations and provide sustainable wage increases, with back pay, to our 2,625 union employees. Coupled with salary adjustments for TriMet’s non-union employees, the settlement will result in increased expenditures of about $20.2 million.
Emerging from the pandemic, rolling toward our future
TriMet joins the community in preparing for our future as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming year as restrictions ease and demand increases, we will continue to slowly bring back service to pre-pandemic levels. We will also work to bring riders back as we ensure safety on the transit system with regular cleaning and other precautions as directed by local, state and federal health officials. As we build the transit system of our region’s future, we will deepen our work to make it safe, welcoming and equitable for all. The balanced budget that the Board adopted provides a roadmap to help us get there.