Tri-Met board to Wheeler: Sit down

Here's a funny one: Portland's mayor, Dud Wheeler, tried to get the unelected, box-checking bobbleheads on the board of the Tri-Met transit system to delay raising fares. This is part of Wheeler's sudden rebirth as a champion of affordability after decades of relentless tax and fee increases inflicted on the public by local government.

Of course, they brushed him off and did as they were told by the fat cat Tri-Met executives.

To ask Tri-Met to stop grabbing money from the locals is truly comedic. And you wonder where Wheeler has been over the years as Tri-Met's infernal payroll and self-employment taxes have sucked more and more of the life out of the region's economy.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, that $415.5 million number at the end there swelled to $473.5 million – another 14 percent increase. In other words, they've got nearly half a billion a year to burn through, even before a single bus or train moves an inch, and even before Dollar One arrives from the feds. But it's never enough.

And it's not just the dollar amounts they're raking in that keep increasing. No, the rate of the Tri-Met tax keeps growing and growing. Originally, it was 0.6 percent. Now it's over 0.8 percent, and it's set to reach 0.8237 percent by 2025. That's a 37.3 percent rate increase over the years. If you make $100,000 this year, Tri-Met gets $803.70 from your employer, or from you. And for what?

Anyway, no, Mr. Mayor, they're going to raise fares, because they can. They need to keep planning the perpetual expansion of the outmoded, mid-20th Century, downtown-centric system over which they so proudly preside.

If only we can take a couple of lanes of car traffic off Barbur Boulevard and build light rail to Tualatin, all our troubles will be over. If it runs middle-class folks out of town, well, they can go by train.


  1. I detest TriMet almost as much as I detest Metro. ALL those people can go live in tents on SW Broadway, or just ride around on the trains, trolleys, and what’s left of the bus system. It’s what they deserve!

  2. Over the 10-year period 2012–2022, the tax take increased 5.3 percent a year. Inflation over that period was less than half that, 2.6 percent.


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