PORTLAND – TriMet, the Portland School District and the city have agreed to work together to save the free youth pass program for students.
Funding for Youth Pass, which came from Oregon's Business Energy Tax Credit Program, ended in 2012.
Mayor Sam Adams said he thought he made a handshake deal with TriMet that the agency would keep the youth program if he agreed to approve their plan for eliminating free rail, which he did.
Adams retaliated by threatening to boost TriMet fees for benches on sidewalks by 8,000%. That would bring in about $2 million which Adams said the city would use to pay for its own youth pass program.
Background: Mayor & TriMet at odds over Youth Pass
The issue was then put before the city council. After discussion, the council worked out a deal which was approved in a vote on Wednesday. Now, the city, school district and TriMet have all agreed to share the costs and keep the program alive. The city will pay $200,000 toward the program, PPS agreed to pay $950,000 and TriMet will absorb the remaining $1.8 million in costs, according to TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt.
Youth Pass allows high school students to ride buses and MAX trains for free to and from school. Nearly 13,000 kids have relied on the free passes.