A bill introduced in the legislature would direct the secretary of state to audit the finances and management of TriMet. TriMet says it welcomes the audit, which would be one among many they go through every year. Most of those audits are financial only.
TriMet has faced a flurry of criticism over the past few years. The agency raised rates last year amid howls from riders. The agency blames the rate increase, and a rising budget deficit, on what it describes as out-sized union benefits. The union and many TriMet watchers counter the real problem is bad management decisions.
And then earlier this year, news broke that TriMet had months earlier quietly given its non-union employees a raise while claiming a pay freeze remained in place.
Representative Chris Gosek, a Democrat from Troutdale, saw all these issues piling up and wanted to see TriMet given more oversight. Initially, his bill pushed to take control of the agency’s board from the governor and state senate and give it to local governments. That idea died when the governor, John Kitzhaber, promised a veto, but he’s put his support behind this bill. With a thumbs-up coming from the hose majority leader, too, the bill is in a good position to pass.
Are you a TriMet rider who has weighed in on transit projects? How well does the agency respond to input or complaints from the public?