TriMet announces proposed 2012 budget

TriMet’s proposed 2012 budget

TriMet has proposed 2012 budget.

Good news: No service cuts; and instead there will be some service restorations (though it doesn’t appear to be going back to pre-recession levels).

Bad news: A 5c fare increase for adults. $4 increase in the price of a monthly adult pass. LIFT paratransit service also going up in price.

Good news: 55 busses to be purchased.

Semi-bad news: Diesel is getting more expensive, thus TriMet’s fuel budget is going up. (OTOH, some of us consider this to be not-so-bad news…)

For details, click the link. Unfortunately, it only goes to a summary page–not to any place where the actual budget can be downloaded, but there you have it…


27 responses to “TriMet announces proposed 2012 budget”

  1. Good list.

    But important bad news, I think: It’s all premised on the assumption that management wins a total victory against the union.

    This may happen, but it’s not likely to happen by May and may not even happen by September. Though I don’t doubt TriMet’s short-term projections, you could see today’s cheery budget as an aggressive move by management in the political game with the union.

  2. Why not raise the concession fares more, they are absurdly low now, much much lower than required by federal law? The concession fare passes are like a quarter the cost of a regular fare pass. And yet, these concession fares are untouched in this round of hikes.

    Another easy way to bring in more money is to prevent people from making a round trip on a single fare. We all do it but this is low hanging fruit to increase revenue without new fare hikes.

    Sure, we all like something for nothing but I’d rather see higher fares/stricter fare policy and have more frequent service than have super cheap fares/lax fare policy and poor infrequent service. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. 40 minute headways on Saturday mornings on the frequent service 15-NW 23rd!!!

    Good to see new buses and restoration of some service.

  3. Scott Walker politics is alive and well and residing in the great state of Orygon!

    It’s all the working men/woman’s fault, without the workers giving up everything the whole world will fail!

    “He steps on stage and draws the sword of rhetoric, and when he is through, someone is lying wounded and thousands of others are either angry or consoled.”
    (Pete Hammil)

  4. Aren’t they also blaming payroll tax yields, rising diesel prices, LIFT, with nary much more than a word about the union being the root of fiscal issues?

    Neither the actions nor the rhetoric is anything like Wisconsin.

  5. But important bad news, I think: It’s all premised on the assumption that management wins a total victory against the union.

    Let me repeat that to make sure you understand:

    But important bad news, I think: It’s all premised on the assumption that management wins a total victory against the union.

  6. You don’t have to be a crude ruffian to believe in Scott Walker ideology.

    I follow this stuff, its all about putting the blame on the union employees!

    Management waste, boondoggle projects, and expansion with a mania the is unprecedented is not the problem, that’s what we are being told.

    People like Aaron believe the hype:

  7. One last comment before I got back to my own little world and leave you guys alone.

    My sources indicate that Trimet will prevail in the arbitration.

    The race to the bottom started in Greece, spread to Iceland, Portugal, England etc.

    Last but not least it came here to Amerika.

    What the anti union crowd just doesn’t see is that there are less and less opportunities for working class people.

    The worlds elite have prospered beyond their wildest dreams, they have gotten away with the theft of trillions of dollars, and they did it right in front of our noses.

    And least the Greeks and the Brits fought back.
    We here in Amerika put up some resistance in Wisconsin, but the power of the banks and the people who control the wealth is too strong to stop apparently.

    More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.
    (woody allen)

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
    This has been a test of the reality broadcast network.

  8. People like Aaron believe the hype:

    Al, don’t make it personal. Aaron didn’t start any sentences with “People like Al believe”, so don’t go there. Come on.

  9. Is there a page that collects (in a non-partisan way for trimet or the union) what the issues are?

    I think I remember one that TriMET was asking union employees to bare some of their own health care costs.

  10. Healthcare costs are the biggie.

    And while I would disagree with the Scott Walker comparisons (there’s a BIG difference between what is going on in Wisconsin and here–TriMet is trying to defeat the union at the bargaining table and at the arbitration table; not in the Legislature), TriMet operators are being asked for a net reduction in their total compensation. Like most standalone transit agencies, TriMet lacks plenary power to raise taxes to fund its operations (occasionally, the state Legislature permits it to do so, and a small payroll tax increase will help fund MLR); so when faced with rising expenses and/or declining revenues, it has to look elsewhere to balance its books.

    I expect TriMet to “win” the arbitration–the behavior of the two parties suggests this is the likely outcome.

  11. Most of us in the private sector have had to bare covering our own health care costs for a long time. Is it a lot to ask that employees of transit agencies to do the same?

  12. Is it a lot to ask that employees of transit agencies to do the same?

    Some would consider it “a lot”, in that we’re asking public employees to participate in what some view as a race-to-the-bottom assault on the middle class.

    Now that private sector unions have been eviscerated and health care costs fall more on the employee than in the past (not to mention the near evaporation of private sector pensions), rather than pausing and reflecting on just how to reverse that trend, the public sector is being asked to join in — at a time of historic high productivity in all sectors and historically low taxes on the wealthy.

    So I have some sympathy for the plight of public sector workers. I just don’t think we’re facing a “Scott Walker” moment in this particular case.

  13. Bob R:

    What is lost on many people is that if you work for a completely private company you pay a portion of your health care costs.

    That’s just reality for most people.

    It seems logical to the many people out there who do contribute to their employee health care that public employees do so as well. Put yourself in their shoes. What do you think they see?

    The “race to the bottom” is simply reality for the private sector workers who pay a good portion of being apart of their companies’ health care system, who in part help pay for TriMet through their employer taxes and fares.

    This is not a defense of our burdensome employer based health care system, which I feel hurts businesses more than anything else.

    I just don’t see how public unions are somehow miffed and angered that the public dare question how their health care is paid for and to what % they contribute into that pot.

  14. If healthcare and transit cost “so much”,how about Metro force everyone who is old to live close to hospitals. They could call them hospital districts. So then they can just wheel people on gurneys from their houses to the hospital!

  15. I wonder if trimet buy 55 new buses; it still same diesel or ETB or what? 40′ or 60′ sized of 55 new buses? If TRIMET buys new 55 buses into diesel with 40′ then I will be more disagreed. what about 60-sized bus and other ETB in mid- or long- terms? Let me know :-)

  16. I wonder if TRIMET buys new 55 buses – what sized of vehicles? If TRIMET buys new 55 buses with 40-sized vehicles that I will disagreed. So, I do not know about articulated buses and other ETB 40-sized and 60-sized ETB? Mid- or Long-Term? Let me know! :-)

  17. Hello, David –

    Last month, we asked about your specific topic of Electric Trolley Buses in our video interview with TriMet general manager Neil McFarlane.

    You can read the complete video interview transcripts here:
    Your Questions for Neil – “Round 2” – Transcripts

    Here is the relevant section:

    Dave Hogan, Portland Transport: Do electric trolleybuses make sense to bring quieter, higher-quality service to corridors where light rail or streetcars won’t fit?

    Neil McFarlane, TriMet: You know, I have always been a fan of electric trolleybuses. But, to be honest with you as I’ve sort of studied bus technology over the last year, become more familiar with some of the technology, there are some really advancing bus technologies – electric bus technologies – that I think we need to keep our eye on, and may be able to offer some of the advantages of the trolleybus without the capital expense of installing the overhead wire and the electrification systems.

    An example of that, that I think is out in the industry, is the Protera electric bus, which has been used in down southern California, beginning to be manufactured in this country. It uses battery tech and capacitor technology, basically to charge for 10-minute quick charges at the beginning and the end of the line, and then run for some distance, simply on batteries.

    Those are the kinds of technologies I think we really want to keep our eyes on. As a progressive region I think we’d really, frankly, accomplish a lot of what I think trolleybuses would hope to accomplish, but do it perhaps at a more reasonable cost.

    I would say that we’re keeping our eye on it because right now they are not a reasonable cost, the per-unit cost of those kinds of vehicles are very high, but as with electric cars we hope that over time battery technology will allow that cost to be reduced.

  18. Given TriMet’s serial short-term funding crises, it’s kind of hard to imagine the agency going for high-capital low-operating expense buses including trolley buses, diesel electric hybrids, cng, etc. unless the feds come up with ever higher contribution percentages.

    Market forces may change prospects for some alternatives – particularly hybrids and cng, but trolley buses remain unlikely unless the fossil fuel to electricity ration changes dramatically.

    Too bad.

  19. Portland seems to have a accumulated a lot of overhead wires throughout the city.

    Could a trolley bus, similar to Seattle’s run on these?

  20. You’d have to add a 2nd, parallel wire for the “ground” / current return.

    Trains do this through the metal rails in the street (note that the rails are surrounded by an insulating jacket, so that nearby underground utilities aren’t disrupted by stray currents).

    In cities like San Francisco that have both trolleybuses and streetcars in the same lanes, the streetcars use a trolley pole rather than a pantograph, or I’ve heard that in some places the ground wire is elevated a few inches above the main power supply wire, so that the pantographs of trains don’t accidentally brush against it. Buses always use two separate trolley poles to access both wires.

    This leads to some very, shall we say, “visually interesting” wire work at intersections where lines must cross.

    So the short answer to your question is “yes, but…”

    Here’s a series of photos on Flickr:

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