PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Port Authority board members approved, with much regret, their 2013 budget Friday morning.
The budget includes the deepest transit service cuts in its 48-year history.
The board meeting was short and to the point, the situation is what it is. On July 1, base fares will increase 25 cents and Zone Two fares will go up 50 cents.
Effective Sept. 2, the elimination of 46 routes, no service after 10 p.m. on all but 13 bus and rail routes, and the layoffs of up to 500 workers.
“We have to plan for the worst, and we are required by law to adopt a balanced budget,” said Port Authority CEO Steve Bland. “So, the budget the board adopted today is balanced, but it does reflect the 35 percent service reduction in September.”
Bottom line, the Port Authority is waiting for the governor and the legislature to come up with additional funding, but time is running out.
“We have to get a lot done in a short amount of time,” said Bland. “Every single board member mentioned they would love to reschedule a special board meeting to amend this budget to resend the service reduction that takes place in September.”
Fingers are still crossed that the service cuts won’t become reality, but one thing is certain.
“The fare increase is pretty well set, there is nothing that we can foresee that would avert that, so I would say that is pretty much a certainly,” Bland added.
Officials say 135 Port Authority workers have retired, but Bland says that doesn’t really help. No new workers have been hired in more than a year, and those still on the job are overloaded.
The Port Authority continues to meet with state, county and city officials hoping for some cash.