Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Others are Saying About the Local Impact of the Statewide Transportation Shortfall

Much is being said about Port Authority's proposal to reduce service by 35 percent and increase fares to counter a statewide transportation funding crisis. Watch and read local accounts and opinions on this challenging situation.

Port Authority: Major Cost-Saving Necessary to Trim Budget
WTAE (Video)

Transit gloom: Riders will bear the brunt of Harrisburg's inaction
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Save our roads: The Legislature must approve funding this summer
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Port Authority’s budget problems mean tough choices
Pittsburgh Business Times

Transportation funding can't wait
The state Legislature must help fill the Port Authority budget gap now
Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership - via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Gathering transit storm to hit all of Pittsburgh
Allegheny Conference on Community Development - via Pittsburgh Business Times

And even more coverage...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Public Comment Period is Open

The public comment period regarding Port Authority's proposed service reduction and fare increases started today, July 28, and will extend until 4 p.m. on Aug. 31.

Comments will be accepted online during this time on the Port Authority website - click here to open the form. Also, comments may be mailed to Port Authority Fare & Service Proposals, Heinz 57 Center, 345 Sixth Avenue, Floor 3, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2527.

A public hearing is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 19 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown.

More details about the comment period, public hearing and the proposals are available on the Funding Crisis page at

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Statewide Transportation Funding Crisis Impact: Fare & Service Proposals Announced

Last month, Port Authority adopted its FY2011 budget with a $47.1 million revenue shortfall. The federal government’s decision not to approve tolling on Interstate 80 has removed a cornerstone of the state’s Act 44 transportation funding program. The impact is felt statewide by road, bridge and public transportation systems, including Port Authority.

Port Authority is obligated by law to balance its budget. Unfortunately, as long as the funding crisis is not solved we have no other choice but to consider drastic service reductions in combination with a fare increase to help address the funding gap.

Today the Planning & Development Committee of the Port Authority Board of Directors announced proposed fare and service actions comprising a 35% service reduction and an across-the-board fare increase. The Committee also authorized Authority staff to move forward with a 30-day public comment period, including a public hearing.

The proposed fare changes would increase the base fare for both Zones 1 and 2, the cost of passes and tickets, and introduce premium pricing for light rail service and 13 express bus routes.

Service hours would be reduced by 35 percent, cutting the number of routes from 129 to 85 and forcing the closure of two bus divisions. At least 500 Port Authority jobs would be cut. About ninety neighborhoods throughout our coverage area would be left without any public transit service or see significant service loss.

The public comment period on the proposed fare increases and service reductions will run from Wednesday, July 28 through Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. Individuals and organizations may submit comments via postal mail or the Authority’s website,

A public hearing will be held Thursday, Aug. 19 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. Individuals wishing to testify are encouraged to pre-register by calling 412-566-5437 (TTY 412-231-7007).

After the end of the public comment period, a final set of recommended actions would be voted on by the Board in September. The proposed fare increase would be implemented on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011, and service changes would take effect on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011. The next round of Transit Development Plan route changes scheduled for September will still go into effect on Sept. 5.

Port Authority understands the hardships that will arise as we are forced to raise fares and make severe service cuts, and we wish we could avoid such drastic actions. We are urging a solution for Pennsylvania's transportation funding crisis, and our Board of Directors has sent a letter to Gov. Ed Rendell encouraging the state to resubmit its application for tolling I-80.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pennsylvania Stimulus Oversight Commission to Meet in Pittsburgh, Give Away Transit Pass

One lucky person will win a one-month transit pass in Pittsburgh, just for learning more about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The winner will be selected by random drawing in Pittsburgh on Thursday, July 22, when the state's Stimulus Oversight Commission holds its first meeting in the city.

The drawing is co-sponsored by Pennsylvania's Stimulus Accountability Office and the Port Authority of Allegheny County. The pass will give the winner one month of unlimited rides on the Port Authority of Allegheny County's transit system, which includes bus and light rail public transit service.

To enter the drawing, go to Entries must be received electronically by 8:59 a.m. on July 22.

There is a limit of one entry per person. All entries must include valid contact information including: name, address, age, phone number, and valid e-mail address. Complete rules are available on the website.

The Stimulus Oversight Commission reviews, monitors and advises on Pennsylvania's spending of Recovery Act funds to assure that they are spent responsibly and effectively. The Commission will hold its regular public meeting this month in Pittsburgh from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, July 22, in the ballroom of the William Pitt Union building on the University of Pittsburgh's main campus.

For more information, visit

Friday, July 16, 2010

One week left to take the Active Allegheny survey

Allegheny County officials are working to develop a comprehensive active transportation plan called Active Allegheny, which will aim to integrate walking, biking and other active modes of transit into the existing transportation system.

To help develop this plan, they want to hear from you about how you get around...and how you think Allegheny County communities could be more bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly. Better sidewalks? Improved recreational paths? More connections to public transit? You can speak your mind about people-powered transportation by filling out the Active Allegheny survey.

The survey is accessible through next Friday, July 23, so click on over and share your thoughts!

Friday, July 9, 2010

East Busway Work Detours 28 Routes Starting July 12

Port Authority of Allegheny County will close the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway between Penn Station and Grant Street starting Monday, July 12, for approximately two-and-a-half months.

The closure will begin at 9 a.m. Monday so that contractors may begin repaving nearly seven miles of the busway.

Penn Station will be closed during this work and riders who normally use the station’s A, B or C stops will have to use other Downtown stops served by their route. The project will affect 28 Authority bus routes, which will enter and exit the busway via the 26th Street ramp in the Strip District.

Signs will be posted to advise riders of the closure and guide them to appropriate bus stops.

Temporary stops will be established on Liberty at Eleventh, near the Greyhound Station, and on Liberty at the Amtrak Station, but riders are strongly encouraged to use other existing stops. Riders using wheelchairs may wish to use a stop other than Liberty at Amtrak due to limited accessibility.

Click here for full details on detours.

Regional Bus Stop D behind the Amtrak Station will remain open for the seven regional carriers that use the East Busway, with the exception of Westmoreland Transit, which will use the temporary stops in addition to its other Downtown stops.

Later this summer, contractors will repave the rest of original span of the busway in sections, ending at Wilkinsburg Station. More details on future work and detours will be released at a later date.

The rebuilding is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010, and will help prevent wear-and-tear on the approximately 800 buses that use the busway everyday as well as create a much smoother commute for the busway's 25,000 daily riders. Contractors will also conduct barrier and guide rail repair, and make improvements to sidewalks and curb-cuts.

This project will span the length of the original busway, which opened in 1983. The easternmost section between Wilkinsburg and Swissvale stations does not need to be rebuilt, having opened in 2003.

The rebuilding will cost $7.5 million dollars and is included in Port Authority's FY2010 capital budget, which ensures annual maintenance needs are met and the Authority's system is kept in a state of good repair.

For more details on detours,
click here or call Customer Service at (412) 442-2000 or for TTY, (412) 231-7007

Thursday, July 8, 2010

South Fayette Park and Ride Opens in September

Beginning Sunday, September 5, Port Authority riders will have a new Park and Ride option in South Fayette Township.

The new South Fayette Park and Ride will be located at the former Star City Cinemas at the intersection of Hickory Grade and Millers Run roads. The lot will offer 125 parking spaces and will be free to use.

The new Park and Ride will be served by the following routes, which will be introduced with the September route changes:

  • 31 Bridgeville (formerly 31D and 31E): This route will operate seven days a week between Downtown Pittsburgh and the Park and Ride via Millers Run Road, then along current 31D routing to Downtown.
  • G31 Bridgeville Flyer (formerly 33D and 33E): This route will operate on weekdays only between Downtown Pittsburgh and the new South Fayette Park and Ride via Millers Run Road and Route 50 to Carothers Avenue, Main Street and Mansfield Avenue to the West Busway.

The new Park and Ride is the result of an agreement between Port Authority and South Fayette Township officials, including township commissioners and Township Manager Mike Hoy.

"The new South Fayette Park and Ride is a prime example of how organizations can work together to benefit the community," said Port Authority CEO Steve Bland. "We are deeply appreciative of their cooperation and commitment to improving public transportation in Allegheny County."