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New TriMet Budget Promises Improved Service, Cuts To Employee Health Benefits

A new budget proposal from TriMet would increase service on dozens of bus lines and on the Max Green Line.   The agency says it wants to reduce overcrowding and keep buses running every 15 minutes in the evening on key routes.

TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch says the agency also plans to buy 64 new buses and add real time GPS tracking of MAX trains.

“There are things we delayed during the recession; buying buses, delaying investments in infrastructure, things like that. So we’re playing a bit of catch up,” she said.

TriMet has not proposed fare increases. Fetch says increased tax revenue thanks to an improving economy will pay for some improvements, and TriMet hopes to reduce its spending on employee and retiree medical care as part of ongoing contract negotiations with the transit workers union.

Bruce Hansen, president of the local chapter of the union, said TriMet is balancing its budget on the backs of its employees.

He criticized TriMet for mismanagement. TriMet employs about 2,500 people.  A new budget will go into effect on July 1.

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