PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA/KDKA-TV) — As commuters grapple with service reductions by the Port Authority, the county executive defended his position on the airwaves.

Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato was a guest on Marty Griffin’s show on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA. He said the area needs a viable mass transit system.

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Bus drivers called in to make their case.

“I cannot bear the full load of the weight that’s being put on me,” the caller said. “I don’t want to pay for all the retirees’ pensions.”

“The issue right now is the retirees legally have their deal and they left their job under that deal,” Onorato said.

Another worker said he’s been on the job for 11 years.

“I want to be there 25 [years]. I want to retire, but I got to face reality,” he said.

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Questions about privatization were also raised.

“Are there certain areas that are profitable? Sure, I bet there’s a company that would want to cherry pick a route here or there, but that’s not the way to do this,” Onorato said.

The transit union said it’s ready to go back to the bargaining table. Onorato said he’ll return to the table, but there’s probably some dispute over what they’ll actually bargain about.

Allegheny County Council is set to have a special meeting on Wednesday about this crisis.


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