Portland Mayor Sam Adams and the transit agency TriMet are wrestling over how to fund youth passes in the city.
Mayor Adams says he had a deal with TriMet. He says the city supported TriMet’s elimination of a free area for light rail trips, in exchange for TriMet spending the new revenue on youth passes. Adams says TriMet backed out of that deal. So now he wants to charge TriMet nearly two million dollars more for shelters and benches on city property. TriMet leaders sent a letter to city commissioners saying budget cuts have already led to service cuts and rate hikes – and a fee increase would mean more of that. TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch says the youth pass used to be funded by the state.
She explained, "Having TriMet fully fund this program – it’s not our program and we’re not in a financial situation to do that. Clearly, we’ve stated that for months."
Mayor Adams says the fee hike on this week’s city council agenda is meant to get TriMet’s attention. Fetsch says her agency is willing to discuss the problem with the city.