When it comes to paying for it, the Port Authority says it will come up with a plan and then figure out the financing.

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Port Authority is surveying the community and putting together a 25-year plan for mass transit in Allegheny County. They discussed some of their findings Thursday.

With a program called NEXTransit, the Port Authority hopes to get some much-needed projects on the drawing board after decades of discussion.

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The first and obvious goal is to connect downtown with the airport. Extending the T to the airport has long been on the wish list.

The next one up: a better connection to Oakland and further east to Monroeville.

Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman says you need a long-term plan to get any of this done.

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“If we don’t know where we want to be in the long term, how do we know that what we’re doing in the next five years or three years is actually getting us toward these goals: bigger, better, more equitable network for this entire region,” said Kelleman.

Also on the transit wish list: better connections to neighborhoods and the suburbs and extending bus lines.

When it comes to paying for it, the Port Authority says it will come up with a plan and then figure out the financing.

“We deserve a great system that connects us. And if that means we have to look at our finances creatively or build a better case, then that’s what we’ll do,” said Kelleman.

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The pandemic has led to a 60 percent reduction in transit riders. Even so, the Port Authority says it’s moving ahead with plans for the future.