PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Protestors took to the streets of Pittsburgh today to speak out against the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s proposed service cuts and layoffs.
The transit authority has proposed cutting service by another 35-percent and laying off hundreds of workers to fill a $64 million budget deficit.
Various groups gathered before the Port Authority board meeting this morning, urging officials to find money to fund the agency.
“I use the Port Authority bus every day; I couldn’t get around — I couldn’t got to doctors, I couldn’t go to work,” demonstrator Catherine Hemphill told KDKA.
“This city needs [a] steady stream of funding for mass transit,” Port Authority Driver Tom Conroy added.
Under the proposed cuts, some 600 workers could lose their jobs, 100 communities could lose service and riders could face fare increases.
“We have to propose this plan because we’re obligated under law to approve a balanced budget by July,” Port Authority CEO Stephen Bland said during today’s meeting.
During the meeting, Patrick J. McMahon, the president of the driver’s union ATU Local 85 said they’re willing to go back to the bargaining table — as long as certain conditions are met. “Let me be clear,” McMahon added, “before we agree to even consider any further sacrifices, we need to know that management is coming to the table prepared to consider reforms.”
The board is set to vote on these proposed cuts on April 25th. If they are approved and nothing happens after that, they will go into effect on September 2nd.