PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The latest round of Port Authority service cuts have been put on hold for now after a vote Tuesday morning.
According to KDKA-TV’s John Shumway, the Port Authority Board of Directors extended the current levels of service until August of 2013, thus avoiding a 35 percent reduction in service.
“We are stepping away from that cliff,” Guy Mattola said.
The board also approved a new contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85.
“More importantly, [The Port Authority Board of Directors] voted to rescind the cuts that were made in the previous meeting which means on September 2nd, the people of Allegheny County will have the full service that has been in place. There will be no cuts.,” Allegheny County Executive, Rich Fitzgerald said.
The new contract includes a two-year wage freeze, but that alone won’t alone save public transit.
The Port Authority management must come up with an additional $10 million, the county — another $5 million — and the stateanother $30 million.
KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano has learned that Gov. Tom Corbett is likely to use a Rendell tactic — “flexing” $30 million in money from other transportation projects to give the Port Authority a one-time fix while Corbett convinces legislators to approve a long-term solution.
As for state funding, Amalgamated Transit Union President Steve Palonis said if Corbett fails to act, the new contract language approved 10-to-1 by drivers on Sunday will be void.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation, Barry Schoch said, “We at the state are committed to meet that part of our aggreement. We will do so. We have a portion of the money already identified. We’ll work forward with the others as we need to but we are committed to meeting our obligations.”
This new deal would help to avoid a 35 percent service cut in the area. According to our partners at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the service cuts would have been the largest in the Port Authority’s 48-year history.
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