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Open a public discussion on annexing TriMet into Metro

This petition had 25 supporters

In 1969, Rose City Transit was taken over by the public agency Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet), pursuant to ORS 267. While in Oregon, public transit systems have evolved into some of the best mass transit services available in the U.S., TriMet's management has increasingly become unaccountable and disconnected from the interests of its riders. While TriMet has focused its energies on federally-funded construction projects, the same TriMet has suffered years of financial difficulties where federal grants cannot be spent, i.e., operational budgets. During the periods of major recessions and fuel price increases during the past several years, TriMet riders have seen some of the worst service cuts and fare increases in its history. The current TriMet is a fiefdom ruled by its General Manager, Neil McFarlane, with unelected and unaccountable board of directors that only seems to rubber-stamp whatever the GM wants. Unlike a private business, TriMet has a power of a government, that is, a power to legislate, tax, and police; however, TriMet has no accountability normally required of any public agency. This arrangement is not sustainable and has been harming TriMet riders, especially those who rely on public transit, including many people of color, immigrants, youth, disabled people, and senior citizens. The TriMet board of directors, appointed by the Oregon Governor, has represented business, real estate and construction special interests, not the interests of those who use TriMet every day.

The Oregon law has long provided for a takeover of TriMet by the Metropolitan Service District (ORS 267.020). The statute empowers Metro to order transfer of TriMet. It is high time to bring some accountability, transparency and public participation in our transit system. We urge the Metro Council to initiate a long-overdue discussion on this matter.

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