Sam Adams Saves Free TriMet Passes for Students
With last month's hastily approved 30-day negotiating window about to close, TriMet and Mayor Sam Adams' office this morning announced a new deal to preserve free bus and rail trips for Portland Public School students. The deal—which Adams obtained after threatening TriMet with steep fee hikes that he would use, in turn, to pay for the passes on his own—means the transit agency will now have to give up $1.8 million in fair revenue to keep the its Youth Pass program running. Portland will chip in $200,000 and PPS will spend close to $1 million of its own cash. It's something of a victory for Adams, criticized in some corners for playing hardball with TriMet. Adams insisted his office and TriMet management had agreed to a handshake deal in which the city wouldn't raise a stink over the demise of the equally vital Free-Rail Zone downtown and out to Lloyd Center so long as TriMet plowed those savings into keeping the Youth Pass program alive. It's not exactly clear yet where each agency will come up with the extra money. I'm still waiting to hear back from TriMet, which by far is taking the biggest hit. Update 1:05 PM: TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch says TriMet is "looking for internal savings to cover the loss in fare revenue," and not, I'm inferring, more service cuts. The Oregonian has posted a copy of the agreement, which it says is headed to city council next Wednesday. The deal runs through the school year that ends next June. And according to a statement sent out by Adams's office and TriMet, the city, the schools, and the transit agency are all supposed to team up and press Salem for a more permanent solution to the weird fact that PPS kids are the only ones in the state who don't have a yellow bus. [ Subscribe to the comments on this story ]
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July 20, 2012
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