By Kym Gable

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Massive service cuts and job losses at the Port Authority could be averted if a $45-million dollar plan introduced by Governor Ed Rendell is passed by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.

Rendell met privately with the commission, then announced at a news conference that unused economic development funds will be allocated to the Port Authority. The agency had planned to cut service by 35 percent and eliminate dozens of routes in March.

Rendell made it clear this is only a temporary fix to the transit crisis, giving legislators more time to come up with a permanent solution.

“I’m glad for now,” bus rider Lindsey Bennett told KDKA’s Kym Gable. “I work late so I don’t have to worry about not being able to catch a bus when I don’t get out of work. It would be nice if they didn’t increase the fares too, that would be nice!”

However, the funding is designed to stop the service cuts, not the fare hikes. The SWC, which still needs to approve the redirection of state funds, will vote on whether to approve the measure on Dec. 13.