Monday, April 27, 2015

OPAL calls out Trimet bullshit-AGAIN

When OPAL/BRU accused TriMet of a number of budget shenanigans in 2012 (all of which have since been proven correct), the agency moved forward anyway with historically unprecedented fare increases and the elimination of the zone system - including the Free Rail Zone. 

But it also adopted a number of policies regarding cash balances and contingency funds to try and avoid similar budget accusations in the future. 

No governmental agency slings more bullshit than Trimet
In short, these policies require TriMet to budget for an "Ending Fund Balance" that is 2.5 times average monthly operating expenses. For the coming fiscal year, this means the agency wants/needs an Ending Fund Balance of approximately $105 million.

Now the agency wants to raise fares for seniors and people with disabilities - an overwhelmingly low-income group of riders - to the *maximum amount* allowed by federal civil rights guidelines.

The agency says this will raise approximately $650,000. But while Honored Citizens will suffer significantly if/when this amount of money is taken out of their pockets, TriMet itself doesn't need this money at all!

 Its anticipated unrestricted Ending Fund Balance for the coming fiscal year is approximately $132.7 million. Which means even if it didn't adjust anything else in its budget, but forgoes the Honored Citizen fare increase, the agency would sill anticipate over $132 million in its Ending Fund Balance.

*Which is about $27 million more than agency "need" and board policy on the issue.*

There is absolutely no financial or operational reason to increase the Honored Citizen fare. None. And this latest unnecessary fare increase on TriMet's most vulnerable riders must be stopped!

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