To the Board of Directors at TriMet,

As leaders in our community representing Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, labor, faith, and other groups, we write to you today to demand that the TiMet Board show leadership and reject any proposal that puts more burdens on low income communities.

The TriMet business plan includes fare hikes beginning next year, and continuing for the following ten years. Public transit is a common good and must be reliable and affordable. A fare increase is an unacceptable proposal, a step in the wrong direction, and sends the wrong signal to the public.

When fares go up, ridership goes down - a downward spiral that leads to transit system collapse. Public transit should serve as a core strategy in improving mobility in the places we live, work, learn, play, and gather. Public transit can serve to relieve congestion, reduce climate pollution, improve air quality, and achieve better educational and socioeconomic outcomes. Public transit is a more equitable and just form of transportation, which many low income people and Black, Indigenous, and other people of color depend on.

You must stop this fare hike from happening. Over the past few years, bus riders have unequivocally spoken out against fare hikes. The state of Oregon now collects employee payroll taxes to put more dollars into our public transit system. Given the regressive nature of payroll taxes, we must protect low income communities from being further burdened by transportation costs. Rather, our communities deserve to see greater benefits from public transportation investment.

We the undersigned demand that the TriMet Board of Directors issue a moratorium on all fare increases. TriMet has yet to explore what other avenues exist to generate increased revenues for the transit system, and has failed to produce an analysis of the environmental justice and civil rights implications of such a fare hike.

TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey said recently that TriMet hasn’t had a fare hike in 9 years, to justify the notion. Fare hikes are damaging to our community, and should continue this era of fare stability. We can sustain and expand the level of service TriMet currently offers without forcing riders to pay more.

Please do the right thing for our communities, and reject the fare hike outlined in the TriMet business plan.

In Unity,
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This form was created inside of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon.