By: Jon Greiner

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is warning of dire results if the state legislature doesn’t find a way to fund mass transit in the next few months.

Three years ago, Gov. Ed Rendell stood at the Wood Street T Station to announce that the state had found a way to fund $472 million in mass transit and road and bridge projects.

But that involved tolling I-80, which the federal government stopped the state from doing, and no other funding source was found.

The CEO of the partnership says if funding isn’t found, the Port Authority will cut 35 percent of its current service, on top of previous cuts that were made.

Michael Edwards says that will lead to 5,200 more vehicles on downtown streets each day, which will mean more competition for parking, possibly higher parking rates, more commute time, more pollution and employers eventually unable to find enough people to work at their downtown locations.

He added ‘”these same employers may begin to look outside downtown for a better business environment in which to operate, causing a downward pressure on office rents, decreasing property values and eventually reduced property taxes paid to the city of Pittsburgh.”

The partnership has created a website where people can contact their state representatives in order to urge them to fund mass transit. Click here for the link.

A couple of ideas for funding include allowing some private business interests into mass transit and again bringing up the idea of tolling I-80.

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