PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Port Authority officials are sounding the alarm about a proposal that would strip the agency of millions of dollars.
The Port Authority of Allegheny County’s interim chief executive director, David Donahue, warns state lawmakers that a proposal to take millions from a trust fund for mass transit funding to help balance the state budget would be devastating.
“Under the proposal we would lose $80 million in operating support that the state had committed to fund in this fiscal year,” Donahue said.
In a letter to Allegheny County’s legislative delegation, Donahue says the transit system would have to eliminate 40 to 50 routes, eliminate weekend and evening service on all routes, close two of five operating divisions, decrease paratransit support, and it would result in a substantial fare rate increase.
He says the proposal goes against a bill that dedicated funds to mass transit.
“The problem of funding public transit, and all transportation in Pennsylvania, was settled four years ago when the legislator passed Act 89, which set up a predictable funding stream, going out 10 years,” Donahue said.
“The idea is to raid that fund, take $357 million out of a fund — that’s a terrible idea,” PA Sen. Wayne Fontana said. “Its $80 million deficit will be to the Port Authority of Allegheny County.”
Fontana says the House is discussing the proposal Monday, but he thinks it has no chance of passing.
“I believe that no matter what happens in the House today or this week, I don’t see, if it comes over to the Senate next week, I don’t see that bill seeing the light of day,” he said.
If by some chance that mass transit funding is taken, the cuts would begin sometime between now and June of next year.