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Applying the Brakes: Mayor Wants TriMet to Restore Youth Passes, Free Rail Zone
Jeff Sexton's profile photoRoss Fisher's profile photo
Given the number of people who work downtown, or near (Lloyd Center) who jump on the MAX to run errands or get lunch... it would seem like the businesses downtown would want to step up and chip in to keep the free rail zone going.
While I think it's fine debate the form it takes, and its funding mechanism, the city needs to keep a robust transit system in place. Public transportation is important city infrastructure, no different than roads, sewers, police services and food carts.
The problem is that MAX is run by Trimet which is part of the Metro initiative, which doesn't answer to Portland. It's a multi-county regional group... which makes it hard for any city under it's umbrella of service to push for changes. Trimet has to consider services it provides everywhere.

It would also be nice if funding for Trimet wasn't tied to payroll taxes, which drop during a recession which is right when people need public transport more. It's a little crazy when you think about it... more funding when people can afford to buy/drive cars, less funding when people need to take the bus.