County Council President To Call Special Session For Port Authority Cuts

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Allegheny County Council President Jim Burn will call a special council session as early as Tuesday about the Port Authority Service cuts.

Burn thinks they can identify $6-$8 million dollars in funding that can be transfered to the Port Authority.

He said it’s never been done, but that they can legislate it.

Beyond that, the Port Authority board would have to reopen negotiations with the union to try to identify more concessions to would meet the $20 million level set by Dan Onorato.

The county would have come up with the other $10 million to fill the $30 million dollar deficit.

In addition, State Rep. Chelsa Wagner has introduced a bill to allow the House, Senate and Gov. Tom Corbett to appoint a majority of the Port Authority board because the state provides 60 percent of the funding for the Port Authority.

Right now, the county executive appoints all nine members and holds most of the influence as was seen by Onorato’s rejection of the offer of concessions by the union.

Port Authority
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85

Sources: Port Authority Union Plan Rejected
Protesters Rally In Squirrel Hill Over Port Authority Cuts
More Port Authority News


One Comment

  1. Level Green says:

    For heavens sake, let it go already. Unless someone thinks the Republican legislature is going to give them more state money, let’s move on.

    This is just more Democratic ‘kick the can down the road’ mentality.

    1. Ming 117 says:

      Level Green,

      I understand your frustration, but we’re talking nearly two hundred jobs. These are real people with families, kids in school or college, and have mortgages and bills to pay. I do acknowleged the possiblity of getting money from Corbett is like getting blood from a rock. Ain’t happening. But anotherr week of negotiations would hurt no one as far as I can tell.

    2. Dose of Reality says:

      Everybody’s frustration is understandable, but there are a couple things people need to keep in mind. 1) The Port Authority network is NOT the inefficient, overbloated bus and rail network it has been in the past, as the agency has radically trimmed and redesigned its system to be more efficient. 2) The retiree pension and healthcare are set in stone, and public taxpayers are going to be on the hook to pay those bills, bankruptcy or not, whether or not a single bus is running or not. 3) Privatization, in most cases would cost more, not less (see new Lenzer service to the North Hills. 4) Downtown Pittsburgh’s and Oakland’s economies are built on having robust transit system. Lose transit and see what happens.

      It’s a frustrating problem, but it’s one that needs to be solved, or it might be your job that’s at risk.

      1. Concerned Rider says:

        Couldn’t have said it better myself…

        Most people are just repeating what they hear others saying, which is “privatize”, without knowing the history. The truth is that the Port Authority was formed from a number of “privatized” companies that failed years ago. Public transit is not intended to be profitable. What some people don’t realize too is that some of the smaller bus companies who serve areas outside of the county are not “private”, but indeed also funded with taxpayer dollars. If it’s privatized, fares will increase (just as they did by Lenzner taking over the routes that were cancelled in the North Hills) to a level that most living in the county cannot afford.

        And many have failed to notice that the drivers have taken concessions, and are willing to take more, so long as they are reasonable. It’s not an easy job (I know from riding the buses, and seeing what the drivers deal with), and I would challenge most of the people who gripe about the salaries of those drivers to step into their shoes – I’m betting most would run back with their tail between their legs…

        Stop placing blame, get a reasonable union contract in place, and reverse these cuts so we can all move on.

    3. Dan says:

      THis is part of the mayors $15.oo a hr parking plan

  2. FedUp says:

    Too much for too long and now too little too late! Let it go already, people will just have to deal with it the best they can. Taxpayers are sick and tired of PAT (and the Union indirectly) coming to them with their hands out crying for more. It would be best if PAT had to declare bankruptcy, then all contracts current and previous (retirees) could be thrown out and re-negotiated. PAT management should be put under the microscope and held accountable. Fares should rise to a level where they cover more than a mere third of operating costs. Sure it’s tough but something has to be done, the well has gone dry!

    1. Ming 117 says:


      Might the well be so dry if Corbett relented and taxed his gas drilling buddies. Other states impose a tax, why not PA.

      1. FedUp says:

        Ming 117

        I am 100 percent behind a gas extraction tax, that is one area I disagree with Corbett. But, that being said, I would NEVER support a gas extraction tax being used to prop-up a failing public transit system. An extraction tax should be held/used to mitigate any damage to infrastructure (roads, bridges, drainage, etc.) directly related to the extraction of the Marcellus Shale gas, nothing more.

      2. FixPGH says:

        I thought the drink tax was supposed to support the bus transit? Where is that money?

  3. Jerri Bauman says:

    we need the counci to work on this we pay taxes we pay for the buses are family cant get to work or let pat go on strike or something my husband is going lose his job cause of this so is thousands of people if they dont do something about this problems with the freaking buses

  4. Mr. N says:

    Give the free methadone clinic rides to the people who hold jobs instead.

  5. Jeff Becker says:

    Here we go, another democrat giving in to the overbloated Port Authority. The saleries, overtime, healthcare and pension costs are absurdly too HIGH! Break the circle madness spending!

    1. Ming 117 says:


      Port Authority needs a dedicated funding source. Funding simply has not kept pace with inflation, rising cost of gasoline, etc. Admittedly things can be done to cut some costs, but privatization isn’t the answer. Been there and done that. You either want public service or you want routes based soley on profit. Market based transportation will leave a lot to be desired. Plus you can’t bet your bottom dollar its just a matter of time before these private companies have their hands in the public trough.

      1. FedUp says:

        Ming 117

        Ah yes, the ‘dedicated funding source’ catch phrase.

        Do you mean tolling I-80 so that any business operating along that corridor which counts on the transportation to keep their costs down to stay competitive will have to move and/or layoff workers? Causing even more unemployment.

        Or do you mean increasing the tax on fuel so that every driver in Pennsylvania can contribute to public transit, even though they never step foot in a PAT bus or use ANY public transit system?

        Which ‘dedicated funding source’ is your choice?

      2. Ming 117 says:

        You haven’t answered my question about the efficacy of market based transportation. It hasn’t worked in the past and won’t work today. Do you propose that police and fire serve only those who can afford to pay? The answer is that Port Authority provides a needed service to the community. It should be adequately funded. Its not really a question of money. Its a question of values. We always manage to give huge tax breaks to those who least need it. Why is that.

  6. Sam says:

    Did ANY ONE take notes in this city when the Steelworkers union went bellyup???? Quit living above your means & thinking you “deserve everything” or you are going to end up defunct as well. It is not like every one of you has a spotless record. You are more worried about yourselves instead of the public that you are costing more than you bring home in one month! No wonder the world is in the shape it is in!

  7. Jack Best says:

    Let it go Burns, enough is enough. We are tired of paying

    1. Sam says:

      What does this comment have to do with anything? Who is Burns and what are you tired of paying??

  8. Joe Smoe from Cokeamoe says:

    When bus drivers make more than teachers, and have better benefits then something is wrong. Get a handle on lfe, space butties. Cut their wages, and pay them what they are really worth. The executives are also fat cats. Let’s get real.

    1. Ming 117 says:


      Why the race to the bottom? If you want to go after fat cats let’s go after the millionaires who get the tax cuts.

      1. ZOEYZOTRON says:

        WE are, you are the millionaires with your DAMN PENSIONS… WAKE UP and JOIN REALITY.

    2. Dale's girl says:

      Every teacher I know makes a very good living, much more than me. Usually in the upper 60’s or better.

      1. Ming 117 says:

        Yeah and the majority of them have advanced degrees. Some of them have school loans totaling 60k.

      2. Zoeyzotron says:

        MING – Many of us do…. big deal.

  9. joe says:

    why don’t some of you go to Harrisburgh and see how our tax money is being spent, those F$%$#%^ people out there are getting up to 175.oo per dim a day that is raping the tax payer of pa, they are taking the middle class down,.

  10. Upset rider from Robinson says:

    Someone needs to check into monetary kick backs from the private bus companies that will take over. I understand that OnaRATo’s brother has connection with Lenzner Coach.

    1. Rob says:

      I don’t think this his true. Might want to check your sources.

  11. joe says:

    this is what happens when you lose big at the polls, Ona will get even with the people of allegeny County, esp the county workers, they all have connection with someone. we need to take back our goverment and this country!

    1. Pat says:

      Hey Joe, I’m a county worker and I don’t have any connections and never did. What I do have is a degree in my field and I’m very good at my job. I’ve received numerous awards from varying organizations as well as commendations from the public. I also make less than the private sector. I haven’t had a raise in 9 years. Why do I stay? Because I almost have a pension, something I never had in my other jobs. I support a disabled mother and an unemployed husband so I’m not going anywhere. You on the other hand should go work for someone who can fire you at will and see how you like it. Taking back the country means getting rid of big business interests who are sucking the life out of the economy and sending it to Central America. That’s what Santorum did when he initiated CAFTA.

  12. We All Need To Look In the Mirror says:

    The whole idea of public transit is in need of a long overdue correction. The routes should be streamlined and the people that need bus services will have to move closer to those routes. It doesnt make sense for a bus to go on some of these little used routes out in the suburbs to pick up 1 or 2 handicapped or elderly people just because they have been doing it for 40 years. The math doesnt work any more. Sorry. Face the truth. I’d be supportive of subsidizing the moving expenses of the poorest people towards the city center and streamlined routes. It would be less wasteful than continuing the status quo which is spitting in the wind.

    1. your an idiot says:

      thats idiotic. somehow i dont think you ride the bus there boss.

  13. Justice for All! says:

    I hope they go under. Let it go private. Lets have more than one bus company like years ago. It was so much better.
    No one gives me cost of living increases, no one gives me health care, no one gives me a pension, no one pays me overtime. I could go on and on.

    1. Dumb-a-Dumb@ss says:

      You lost me at dumb a crats! If you really think that party bashing is helping anything you are part of the problem, not the solution.

    2. Mike says:

      You have ever opportunity to get a job that supply all those options. Go get your Commercial Drivers License. Take the driving test. Drive a 40 ton bus full of peoples lives through all types of weather, narrow streets, dangerous areas. Get spit on, assaulted, shot at all for asking passengers to pay $2.25. Go private and that will shoot up to at least $7.00 one way. (and they were private bus companies 45 years ago and they went bankrupt)

      When you start you only make $16.00/hr and will bust you hump on overtime just to keep up to pay for your mortgage, kids school, food and gas for your family.

      Come ride the bus at 1:00am in Homewood with me 5 days a week and see if you appreciate the job then. The Authority and the upper management needs their bonuses and perks taken first before the hard Union workers. Bland just got a raise for cutting routes. Is that they way to spend the money?

      1. Michael says:

        The problem is the unfunded pensions….. I can tell from most of these posts that people understand that.. Why not you? also.. How much should we be paying those school bus drivers that have the same license endorsements and yet have the lives of many children during much of the same weather? Should we be paying the Plum bus drivers 60k a year with full benefits? I somehow do not think they make anywhere close to that… Maybe they should right? how about we take 30 percent of what you make and give it to our school drivers.

      2. Mike says:

        Yes Pay them more I agree! The public…ah forget it,

    3. FixPGH says:

      From what I hear, they were talking about letting a private bus company take on the North Hills…$10 round trip. I wouldn’t want to pay that. That’s $50 a week, $200ish a month.

  14. joe says:

    hey justice for all why don’t you get off you ass, and see what its like to drive a bus, you must be one lazy s.o.b.

  15. 2059 says:

    more handouts for the lazy and shiftless union slobs.

  16. 2059 says:

    shackin up with his new girlfriend.

  17. joe says:

    Hey 2059–this country was built by union’s people, its a shame people like you are destroying this country, if you are going to cry wolf go to wash and see where your tax money is being spent on!!!!

  18. Rubber Duck says:

    Privatization doesnt mean bust the union. There are unions for all kinds of private sector jobs. The transit system was created when the population was double what it is now and when more people took the bus and lived closer to downtown. The workforce needs to be right-sized for a smaller city. But maybe the real problem here is that the board of directors is unpaid and therefore isnt putting the bottom line above all else.

  19. Mary says:

    And THIS is why the republicans will lose in the NEXT ELECTION…..
    Corbett keepes saying he’s doing what the people want. I don’t know of ANYONE that’s really happy with what he has proposed for the budget.
    They are only worried about those who ‘have money’ in this coubtry.

    I actually CARE about other people and who they are…not what they can give me ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$) like repubs

    1. Zoeyzotron says:

      MARY – Whiskey is dead on. Why would you continue to support this dying system. Every dollar you put in is lost. The Port authority will fail, the cost structure is far to high. This is America, if PAT fails someone better will fill in.

      Tell me where this money should come from? We are 4 billion in debt in this state. My guess is that you have no concept of economics and you are also probably in debt…

      By the way, oBama will not win in 2012 he is a complete failure in almost everyway.

    2. Newsflash says:

      Republicans dont know what they are doing either.

  20. Mike says:

    Now why’s that?

  21. Joel says:

    If the Port Authority needs funding, why don’t they consider cutting their Emergency Services Unit. I don’t think they need a S.W.A.T team and most of these other services. (SWAT Tactics, Counter-Terrorism, Dignitary Protection, Riot Control, K-9, Hazmat, Hostage Negotiations and Explosive Ordinances.)
    I am sure the County and the City and other local police and emergency services can provide most of the necessary services that are required. I see PAT police all over the place directing traffic and doing all kind of things that have nothing to do with the port authority.

  22. I. B. Wright says:

    What do you not understand about, THERE IS NO MONEY? The idea to just go out an find some more, THERE AIN’T NO MORE! The well is dry. The majority of state taxpayers who don’t use PAT or SEPTA are sick and tired of paying . Do what the people of Montgomery did fifty some years ago. They did what they had to and it was a watershed moment. Have one of your own. This whole mess is a tribute to 75 years of inefficient mostly Democratic rule. You wanted them for all the freebies they gave you. Instead they should have been building a profitable mass transit system but they were too busy lining their pockets and giving out goodies to their voting block. The chickens have now come to roost. Quit waiting for someone on a white horse to come and bail you out. Use your head for something besides a hat rack. Drive, carpool, walk, ride a bike or move closer to where your job is. Try solving your own problems for a change. You might be surprised at how good you feel.
    Jim Burns needs to wise up as well. Typical politician looking for votes, instead of taking the tough road and figuring out a long term solution. Give Corbet credit in taking an unpopular stance to try to undo eight years of Rendell’s pillaging the state.

    1. Ming 117 says:

      There’s money. They just built a new hockey arena didn’t they. It’s a question of values.

  23. Denise R says:

    When is someone non-political and not a crook going to step in and audit port authority. When was the last time the big shots took a pay cut? Where is that drink tax money that was supposed to go to them?

  24. Barry Trailways: PAT Bus Mechanic says:

    Leave me alone. I need a second snow cone machine for my son’s bedroom and my daughter wants to spend the summer in Spain.

    1. Ming 117 says:

      Racist blathering. Get over it. You have a Black President who is going to be re-elected in 2012. Maybe, just maybe he’ll take your daughter with him on his next vacation.

  25. Larry S. says:

    To all those who think we should just let public transit go under because they never set foot on a bus. I urge every rider affected in any way by the transit cuts, if at all possible, get in your car Monday morning and drive downtown. Leave early, take up all the spaces. An extra 20,000 cars on the parkways should help those who are “unaffected” by public transit to understand.

    I declare the “Drive To Work Monday” campaign open.

    1. Gary Gulman says:

      Great idea, Larry! While you’re at it dDont forget to return the income/ property/sales tax money collected for PAT services to those people you want to inconvenience. Also return the drink tax money collected for those folks, too. Dont forget to send the state a check for all the money they throw at this elephant. The people in traffic already spend more a day on mass transit subsidy than the $2.25 it costs to ride this mass terdd.

  26. Ming 117 says:

    I’m trying to think what type of critter wears a hood and burns crosses.

  27. Ming 117 says:

    Smoking too much meth.

  28. Ming 117 says:

    We get it. Your the poor sucker who votes against his own self-interest. Rushbo and company bamboozle you everytime.

  29. Marva says:

    To Mr. Bland: you should be ashamed of yourself. Someone said that you just got a raise. Was this because you cut the poor people who have to ride the bus, making minimum wage, and have to pay all dalaries you the upper class? You and yours will have to answer to God for what you have done.
    !. You need to take a cut in your pay.
    2. We need to get rid of the Unions in PA so that we can grow like other states. 3. if a private company is taking over some of the routes, then the powers that be should give them some of the money that it gives to PAT so that they can make it. 4. Even if the drivers pay so much into their medical and pension plans, they will get it back the next time they have a union meeting. Mr. Bland and PAT you are wasting our hard earned money. Let’s get rid of the “politicians, unions and start all over. 5. Have you eliminated any of the routes to South Hills and Oakland? You do not want the suburbs to have bus service, so share the money with another Bus company that will treat everyone fairly. PAT is a disgrace to Pennsylvania . You have your millions and your pension, Get our of town!

  30. eazytime says:

    Oh yea Marva,
    private scab outfit taking over north bus routes and guess what,they doubled the fairs. Wait till next year.They probably will double them again.

  31. William Ainsworth says:

    #1) Do you think Onorato will be shocked when there is no way he’ll be re-elected?!

    2) BOYCOTT!!!! NO other way to send a message. If this city really WANTS change, then we have to work for it. There are $6.00 and $8.00 garages downtown, there are alternatives to the bus and Trolley. Car polling… biking, anything possible. If they even lose 50% ridership for a month it’ll send a message loud and clear. START APRIL 1ST, DO NOT BUY YOUR PASS FOR NEXT MONTH!

  32. William Ainsworth says:

    @ Marva, you said it all. We need to take PAT DOWN… it NEEDS to be done. This is the final straw. They get gvt money (That WE PAY ANYWAY TO TAXES!), then they raise their fares left and right, and cut routes and frequency left and right…


  33. GONE FROM PGH says:


  34. Mike says:

    Let’s just shut it down. No one rides the bus or trolley anyways! Let’s put 4500 employees out of a job. This stable and growing Allegheny County economy can afford it. A bus driver making $50,000 a year ($37,000 actuall take home pay that’s after putting in 5 years. You really get $10.09/hr to train for 10 weeks then your annual pay is around $34,000 with take home only $23,000) is horrible!!!!! What do they do anyways? It’s not like they run up and down a field and catch a ball, now theres a job worth MILLIONS!!!

    Get a clue guys. Any strong community needs Transit! Stop complaining about the Port Authority drivers!!!

  35. whatever says:

    When Pittsburgh starts to look Like Detriot maybe they will care a little more, 5 or 6 people I know are losring there jobs who work downtown because of the cuts, but hey, I stand at my bus stop and still see 42 P12 buses go by

  36. jim says:


  37. jim says:


  38. FedUp says:

    It’s great to see so much dialogue going back and forth on these issues. I’ve got a suggestion — why don’t the 70 + people who posted on this board e-mail our county executive at and tell him to FIX THIS PROBLEM. Come on, people . . . don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk — get involved, take a stand, make a difference, and let your voices be heard!

  39. Dennis says:

    The loss of service is for covering the cost of the hole under the river for the sole purpose of a business on the north side. I am sure that the half billion dollars to pay for the tunnel could have kept the buses running for quite a few years. Congratulations to the county governing body for showing how they can waste tax payers money. I can only hope the voters remember them at election time.

  40. GGet Real says:

    Fund What?? I see those huge dinosaur buses crawling around the city on the weekends and in the evenings with nobody on them. PAT needs to be restructured. Onorato got sucker in to supporting the drink tax and has to deal with this dying agency again.

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