Port Authority CEO: “Next 6 Months Is Going To Be Tough”
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Another round of service cuts and layoffs from the Port Authority is coming, and this latest round of cuts is not expected to be the last.
“We’re flat-out running out of magic bullets; so, I think this next six months is going to be tough,” said Stephen Bland, the Port Authority CEO.
Unlike the buses and T, the $47 million deficit isn’t moving and the cry for help from the Port Authority for more state funds has landed on deaf ears.
As a result, there’s a proposed plan for March – something the Planning and Development Committee voted on at a meeting this morning.
“Total of 35 percent of service hours reduced, approximately 40 bus routes eliminated, reductions in service – for instance less frequency or may be running not as late into the evening or not on weekends, almost every route in the system,” added Bland. “Certainly, well in excess if 350 to 400 layoffs.”
But it doesn’t end there. Next summer doesn’t look good either.
“It’s a little tough to get to March at this point, but again it’s going to be a tough year,” said Bland. “I mean, our initial projection is about [a] 20 or so million dollar operating deficit going into next year.”
For those who rely on public transportation, the projections don’t sit well.
“It’s hard enough taking the bus for people as it is,” said Amber Overton, of Highland Park. “If they do something like this, it’s going to make it impossible for people to take the bus.”
“Right now, this is really the only alternative we have to address it,” added Bland.
Next Wednesday, the Port Authority board will officially vote on the cuts in service, layoffs and fare increases.