$1.8 billion budget prioritizes projects to make bus and light rail service faster and more reliable, accelerates TriMet’s adoption of clean fuel technologies, advances transit equity by supporting riders struggling financially and seeks to restore our workforce
Two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began changing our world, TriMet is rolling toward recovery with our proposed budget for the coming year. The $1.8 billion dollar budget includes $736.7 million in day-to-day operating requirements and $246.1 million in capital improvements. The remainder of the budget includes debt service, pass through funds that TriMet provides to other government agencies, fund balances and contingencies. For the tenth straight year, the budget does not include a base fare increase.
Our proposed fiscal year 2023 budget supports the agency’s business plan, the framework of objectives and strategies that we use to bring our financial decisions in line with our vision, mission and values. In addition to restoring ridership and workforce levels that were eroded by the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposed budget prioritizes capital projects that will bring faster, more reliable transit to the region; improve safety; further reduce our carbon footprint; and maintain a transit system that is accessible and welcoming to all.
Among the highlights in the budget for July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023:
- Transit service: TriMet will launch a new type of bus service in in September 2022, as construction of Division Transit Project wraps up and our first TriMet FX™–or Frequent Express–bus line starts to roll. FX2-Division will use 60-foot, articulated buses, all-door boarding, transit priority signals and lanes and amenities to bring better bus service to the 15-mile Division Street corridor. It’s expected to speed up bus rides between Downtown Portland and Gresham by 20% or more!
- Capital investments: Significant work continues in the coming year on major agency initiatives, including “A Better Red” MAX Red Line Extension and Reliability Improvements Project, completion of our Powell Garage renovation and the replacement of the oldest light rail vehicles in our fleet. In addition, the budget includes plans to increase capacity at the MAX Orange Line’s SE Park Ave Parking Garage.
- Electrification: With an agency goal to fully transition to a non-diesel, zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040, TriMet will expand our electrification program in next year, with continued exploration and testing of electric technologies to meet high standards of safety and reliability while cutting carbon emissions. This includes further testing of our growing fleet of electric buses and installing dozens of electric chargers at our Powell facility.
- Transit equity and inclusion: Since 2018, TriMet has offered our Honored Citizen reduced fare to riders based on income level, in addition to seniors and people with disabilities. Our budget seeks to expand participation in the program, which offers unlimited rides on TriMet buses and trains for just $28 per month.
Resources that support the total $1.8 billion budget include $77.1 million in operating revenue, $470.1 million in tax revenues, and $164.5 million in federal funding. TriMet has not experienced any major changes to payroll tax revenue receipts for the proposed budget. However, passenger fares are down compared to pre-pandemic levels, due to lower ridership and service reductions, brought on by ridership demand and staffing shortages. Currently, our service is down by about 18% from the start of the pandemic.
TriMet has been awarded federal funding from recent relief packages including: $184.9 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act; $195.4 million from Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA); and, $289.1 million from American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. Funding has and will continue to be used for operations and maintenance, as well as TriMet’s coronavirus response and safety efforts. The funding has provided critical support that allowed TriMet to avoid deeper service cuts and layoffs.
The proposed budget is posted at trimet.org/budget for review. A public hearing will take place at the March 23, 2022 Board of Directors meeting. Learn more and submit comments at www.trimet.org/meetings/board. The TriMet Board of Directors may consider adoption of the budget on Wednesday, May 25. If adopted, the new budget takes effect on July 1, 2022.
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*Hiring bonus increased to $7,500 on May 1, 2022