March 21st, 2013 | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: Transportation, Metro, Legislature

Should Metro Take Over TriMet?

     
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 Among the more far-fetched bills in Salem this legislative session: a proposal by Rep. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale) that would force regional planning agency Metro to take over TriMet.

House Bill 3316 arrives amid increased clamor for change at the top of the regional transit agency, which has in the past year cut service and raised fares, given its management secret raises and continued an intractable standoff with its employee union.

But Nick Christensen reports that the Metro council wants no part of the TriMet mess.

"Give us TriMet's situation and no other tools to fix it, and we would wind up in the same position that the TriMet board is in," Metro Chair Tom Hughes said at Wednesday's council meeting.

Gorsek is apparently amending his legislation to something less drastic: shifting TriMet Board of Directors appointments from the governor's office to Metro.

Councilor Bob Stacey notes that state law already gives Metro the right to take over TriMet if it wants to. It just doesn't want to. 

Stacey tells WW that he has confidence in the current TriMet board and Executive Director Neil McFarlane.

"Neil McFarlane and this board have a tough row to hoe," Stacey says. "It's not a governance problem. It's a resources problem. I'm not looking for a big management shift over there, and I don't know that people who are calling for that are have a good understanding of the resource limitations that TriMet faces."

Read the Metro story here, and weigh in with comments: Should Metro wrest control of TriMet?

 
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