August 26th, 2009 | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Schools, City Hall

A Free Ride For Portland High School Students

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This morning Portland City Council will consider an intergovernmental agreement with Portland Public Schools and TriMet to give all high school students in PPS a free, unlimited bus pass for the upcoming school year. Classes start Sept. 8.

PPS is contributing the $800,000 it already put aside to pay for bus passes for a small portion of its students (whose transportation to and from school is covered by the district under state and federal rules.)

TriMet is seeking Business Energy Tax Credits to cover the rest of the program, which will provide 10 months of free bus and streetcar passes to all 12,500 high school students, including those at charter schools and community-based alternative schools.

If TriMet can't find a buyer for the tax credits within six months, the deal will fall on Portland's general fund. Portland's Office of Management and Finance estimates the maximum potential impact on the general fund is $2.55 million. But OMF says "the risk to the general fund is low."
 
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