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.

  • Fenix1186

    The cry story is starting again. Scare tactics all over again. Just get your act together or go out of business already.

    • rich

      obviously you are very young and you support privatizing transportation…there is a new tool out called the world wide web use it to research how and why pat came into excistence…because the independent companies could not do it alone.

      • Fenix1186

        Obviously PAT can’t do it now. Time to switch it up and stop using taxpayer money.

      • rich

        pat could do it if they where given the money that was promised to them 2 years ago

  • JanetJones

    STOP OVER SPENDING and you won’t have this problem. I am SICK of PAT blaming the lack of funding on their problems. It STARTS with their overspending, the lack of funding is a SMALL part of the over all problem.

  • sarah

    How much did the tunnel to nowhere – you know the one that runs under the river – cost?

    • rich

      ok Sarah no since you are absent minded that money comes from the federal gov. that was earmarked years ago for this project….federal money CANNOT BE USED FOR OPERATING COSTS.

  • Dan

    It’s not more money they want but money already promised to them last year and then not delivered. PAT is a gov’t agency. Not a business!

  • rich

    Thank you Dan

  • Leek

    They really need to take a look at other cities. Chicago has a huge metro system and works very well, so does D.C. and New York. Maybe the city should increase ridership by having a mandatory public transportation law if your live more then a mile away. Would also solve the parking issues.

    • eman

      leek you should look at those cities too they have a transit tax that everyone pays right out of thier paycheck

  • redrock100

    No more freebies.Rendel is gone.

    • Fenix1186

      You don’t even live in the city. Your comment is null and void.

    • Raul Montinegro

      Rendell is not gone, inaguration day is in January.

  • Ron

    Well I for one cannot wait for the North Shore connector to be complete. I think it is going to be a great asset and in my opinion was a great idea. The fact that it ran over budget is a huge concern and that should have been taken into account. I don’t understand the “tunnel to nowhere” references. It has a destination, it’s just still under construction and it’s on target. As the parking rates in town keep rising, it will be nice to park on the north shore and ride the connector to town, or just take the bus from home. If the rates keep going up less people are going to ride, then the deficit will be bigger and they’ll raise rates again. It’s like a revolving door.

  • Thom

    I have an option for Mr. Bland. How about the state eliminates the monopoly on public transportation. A lot of the private companies would be very happy putting some of their capital into transporting people into the city. They also complain that there is a deficit. THERE IS A DEFICIT BECAUSE YOU DUG A TUNNEL UNDER THE RIVER!!!! Where do they find these people? CLOWN COLLEGE?? This city probably found Onorato there, too!

    • rich

      i think you attended clown college…1. the money for the tunnel came from the federal goverment which is money that gets earmarked 10 years or more ago that can nevever ever be used in the day to day operations. 2. why do you think pat exists today because there where several private companies that where in pgh that failed miserably because thay could not afford it.. TRAsportation is not designed to make money it is designed to provide a publice service just as fire polie and ems

  • redrock100

    Duh. Port authority is county. Speaking of city, they can drill in my yard anytime. LOTS OF MONEY.

  • James

    The deficit and tunnel have nothing to do with each other. The tunnel is capital budget, meaning comes from the feds and the deficit is in operating budget. The feds will give PAT money for just about any useless thing but won’t give money to operate. The feds just gave PAT big bucks to buy new buses. Why? Thom, you should enroll at CC, you might learn something

  • James Slick

    The Tunnel and the operating budget may not be DIRECTLY related But, The Federal Government is STILL paid for bu MY TAX DOLLARS. How many lame projects like this could have been canceled in order to fund operations? I don’t know. Of course the Unions woul be helped either way. There is another way to get from Downtown to the North Side that is uasble by Mass transit, Cars AND even pedestrians… It’s called “bridges”. Oh Yeah, Those are already there! Beyond maintanence, Not mutch Union Welfare involved.

  • James Slick

    I forgot to mention that PAT could save operating cost by eliminating advertising. Coke and Pepsi advertise because you MIGHT deside to change from one COLA to another COLA. But Who is PATs competition? Bob’s Ale house and Bus Line? No government agency needs to advertise. Could you imaging this: “Try The PITTSBURGH POLICE. They’re Way Better Than those OTHER Police you have been using!” Please…….

  • privatetransit

    Listen, the drivers make way too much money and that crazy idiot driver union president knows this. Cut the drivers Wage by half across the board, cut the executives pay in half, and MOVE back into the BUILDING YOU OWN ON THE NORTHSIDE and stop paying 8 million dollars a year in rent to rent a floor in the Heinz 57 center. The Authority needs to stop spending. I hear that the maintenance department has a blank check and they have thousands of dollars of inventory on hand.

    I know why the Authority was formed back in the 60’s and it was because private industry couldn’t keep up with the demand for transportation. Private industry could now take over as there are companies in this area that could take it over and run a better system, increase ridership and make a profit at it.

    As for downtown buses, get rid of them. There is no need for buses running around downtown. Drop passengers off on the southside and have them take the T and once the tunnel is completed to the northside drop passengers coming from the north off there. As for the eastern suburbs, having vehicles running downtown and then turning around is ok, they need to limit the amout of vehicles on the road and the consolidate routes

    Rich, you sound like you used to work for “them” where you a driver? Maintenance? hows your cushy 3K to 4K a month pension check? I wish I made that much a month.

    • rich

      ok mr private transit . u r a right i do work for them now see you have you mind in the gutter..and i am a driver ..for you to tell me i make too much money is insane. you have never done my job. you have know idea what we deal with on a daily basis call me sometime ill feel you in..most people quit in there first 6months…now iam responsable for thousands of lives on and off the bus daily.. and even if i did not work here understand this privatization would never work somebody still has to fund this no buisness in there right mind would ever come into a situation knowing they are going to lose money…o yeah by the way when i am able to retire around the 2040 it woud be nice to have that pension

  • redrock100

    I hope I still have a job as a driver after this. It’s cool sitting around on my fat ass driving all you losers around.

  • redrock100

    burgh10 can’t spell simple words. must be a republican.

  • Burgnerdman

    In the 1960’s, the Federal Gov was flexing it’s muscle, along with the many State Gov. That is our major problem in this country right now. Who do you think the Feds are. “We The People” Now, granted, if the Feds and State of Pennsylvania stop funding Mass Transit, things will stop to a grinding halt. If you allow some time for recovery in the private sector. We might accually be better off. I agree that the transit operators do make a valid wage for the work that they do. They deserve getting paid a good wage. Now the Administrators on the other hand, Need a paycut.
    Again, cut’s in any sector of our city are going to be difficult. But in the long run, we would better off.

  • Mr. Soho

    What happen to all that drink tax dollars that go to PAT, half of the buses driving around are almost empty, that’s why the windows are tinted and covered in decals.

    • eman

      the drink tax was first at 10 percent then was lowered to i belive 7 percent also DAN wanted to use it else where and had to be taken to court and forced to give the money to PAT where many feel it went towards his campain for govener

  • Burgnerdman

    Mr. Soho, your right! What happened to the drink tax? It most likely fell in someones back pocket again. These government officials have a bad habit of doing that. The only way to take care of that is to vote every single one of them out of office, near or all at the same time. “Out with the old, in with the new.” If the voters don’t do it. Nothing is going to change. The voters are still voting, because there has always been something in it for themselves!

  • eman

    anyone here ride a bike? if so who is paying for all the work being done on the bike trails? oh by the way that cute little bridge that crosses over second ave. cost over 40 million to build and install it was paid for by tranportion dollars from the state to apease the greenies out there hhmm 40 million? wonder where they took that from? PAT

  • RJ

    First things first, even though PAT is a county operated system if it were run like a business instead of a government agency it would operate well. As any business owner will tell you, you cannot make your business smaller and charge more for the things you provide and expect to make money. It doesn’t work that way. This, however, is what has been done. PAT has cut routes and raised rates on the rest of the riders. What kind of business operates that way? None that is currently solvent. Re-think the contract that is providing bus drivers with 100K plus salaries? Might be a place to start. Maybe even trim the board down a bit. Does the county really need that many people to drive PAT into the ground? No it does not. But the government already runs PAT. Who will take it over and fix it? No one will. Sell it outright and privatize it. some enterpreneur will buy it and make a business of it—a profitable one too, because expansion is what is necessary,

    • Burgnerdman

      Government involvement into any business is a bad thing. When things are going well, they have an endless amount of funding. When things are not going so well, like they are right now. There is going to be budget shortfalls.

      There are only a few reasons to have a Federal Government. One, to protect it’s citizens, two, to enforce our civil rights, and three, to provide emergency services. That’s it. Anything else should not have happened to begin with. Thanks to the Roosevelt Administration, and every one since then. Most Americans think this is the way it has always been. Read up on history, and you will learn something surprising. That is not true. “If we don’t learn from our own historic mistakes, we will repeat them!”

    • RICH


  • richardw

    Rich, here’s an excerpt from the trib last month. “From Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2009, the authority’s $154.8 million payroll included seven executives and eight other employees who made more than $100,000, and 102 employees — including 48 bus and light-rail operators — who made more than $80,000 when overtime, back pay and other payments were included.” Who doesn’t have a clue?


    • Burgnerdman

      I am not comming to the defence of the PAT operators, however, the few that are making close to 100k are putting in alot of overtime. Not spending time with their families/friends. Most of the Operators for PAT deserve the wages that they earn. I think the problem here is there are too many jealous workers out here that are not getting paid the way they should be. LIVIABLE WAGE! If you want to make big expence cuts, start with the administrators.

    • rich

      overtime,,never see families,never home on holidays,,,these people earned there money more power to them as for exec i cant comment on something i dont know about

  • sandy duncan

    PAT is such a losing proposition. Not one more dollar from the taxpayer should go to it. You have overpaid drivers taking non-paying welfare people across town to sell their food stamps for drugs and you wonder why it’s not working. Then you continue to fund pensions and health care for the same bunch of losers at my expense.. STOP IT IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • sean

      You are an idiot!

  • Wes Park

    For 95 years, the Rocks has been serve with public transportation along its main thorofare, Chartiers Av, starting at Singer Av. Now that service is targeted for elimination. The 20 Kennedy which serves thousands of riders, elderly, students, workers will cease to operate. The daily lives of seniors will be jeopardized. Some will starve, and if no one cares, otheres will die. They will lose their link to the outside world, to shopping at the Foodland, Aldis or Giant Eagle, to their doctors appts. to town, to work.
    How careless and heartless can a public body be? I’m guessing none of the board has ever ridden the 20 Kennedy or the 7 Spring Garden. They don’t know how vital these bus routes are to the elderly, who have no other way of getting from point A to point B. the PAT board doesn’t have the public trust, only their own preservation. SHAME on PAT!!!

  • eddie from pitt

    i just cant beleive all this mess

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