PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — On Friday, the Port Authority board of directors is set to cut service next September by 35 percent, affecting most of the system’s 225,000 daily riders and eliminating service outright to about 40,000 riders.
On the eve of that meeting, KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano caught up to Governor Tom Corbett, who was blunt about the role of state government in preventing this.
Delano: “Have you washed your hands of the transit issues here in Pittsburgh?”
Corbett: “We have not washed our hands of the transit issue, but what we are doing is looking to the Port Authority board, the county, and the unions to come up with some solutions, and we are there to help in any way we can.”
But unlike past years, that help will not be any state money to keep the system running as is or to erase a $64 million deficit.
“In years past, the state has been able to produce that money and solve that. We don’t have that money,” said Corbett.
Critics say last summer Corbett’s own transportation advisory commission made funding recommendations. Yet, he has not embraced any of the proposals or pushed the legislature to enact anything.
“I have some ideas. I think it is a matter of timing. We’re going to work on it. I hope we can address it this calendar year.”
In the meantime, the governor says, locally, it’s up to the transit union to work with management to cut costs.
Delano: “Is reducing service to a third of their routes and 40,000 people affected, is that the way to balance their budget?”
Corbett: “Well, I think they have to take a look at where they are spending and, as I said, they have to sit down and talk to the unions.”