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Funding Gap Paves Way For More Port Authority Cuts

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(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s looking like if it weren’t for bad luck, Port Authority riders would have no luck at all.

“The cuts may save them money in the long run, but it’s not going to make people happy and there’s a lot of people that ride the bus and depend on it,” says Stephanie Haussler of Shadyside.

Faces were grim as the Port Authority Board considered recommendations for another round of cuts. They’ve run out of wiggle room, according to CEO Steve Bland.

“Unfortunately, because of the continued state transportation funding crisis it leaves up with a big financial hole and right now this is the only alternative,” he said.

Coming in March 2011, a 35-percent service hour reduction with about 40 routes eliminated, an end to evening and weekend service on 13 other routes, selective cuts on routes that remain and layoffs of nearly 400 Port Authority workers.

Amalgamated Transit Union Chief Pat McMahon didn’t mince words.

“This whole situation with transit is devastating not only to my workers who are going to lose their jobs, but it is devastating to this community that we service,” he said.

Across-the-board fare increases start in January and if the cavalry doesn’t come to the rescue, more belt-tightening likely in July.

“Frankly with the continued drop in revenue it’s going to be another tough year,” Bland said.

“We should be looking at expanding transit getting people off the highways,” McMahon said.

He places responsibility for the mess squarely on the shoulders of elected officials.

“It needs fixed. We need elected officials that have the will to do it and it has to be done sooner than later,” he said.

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