Friday, September 24, 2010

Port Authority Postpones Service Cut Vote; Move Gives State Leaders More Time to Resolve Transportation Funding Shortfall

Port Authority of Allegheny County's Board of Directors today postponed a vote on reducing service until November to give state leaders more time to resolve the transportation funding crisis.

The Board now will consider a proposal to reduce service by 35 percent and increase fares during its Nov. 24 meeting. As a result, fares still would increase in January but any changes in service would not occur until March.

"Legislators in both Houses and on both sides of the aisle have said that the statewide transportation funding crisis is very real, is very serious and must be solved in a comprehensive manner," said Port Authority CEO Steve Bland. "They’ve also been very clear that the likelihood of doing so before the election is all but non-existent."

The Authority's proposal involved a combination of actions intended to help counter the statewide shortfall. The shortfall is felt by transit agencies, PennDOT and other entities responsible for road and bridge work. The state's funding gap largely is due to the federal government's decision not to approve tolling of Interstate 80.

The proposal includes reducing transit service by 35 percent, a fare increase and hundreds of layoffs.

  • Fares: Initially proposed to increase by a quarter in Zones 1 and 2 on Jan. 1. This timeframe does not change under the Board's decision.
  • Service: Proposed to be reduced by 35 percent across Allegheny on Jan. 9 - this now would not occur until March.

For more information, visit or call Customer Service at (412) 442-2000 or for TTY, (412) 231-7007.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Show of Strength for ALS

This past weekend, nearly 60 Port Authority employees flexed their muscles and showed off their strength for a great cause – the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

On Saturday, September 18, the second annual Bench Press for ALS fundraiser was held at the Barack Obama Academy of International Studies in East Liberty.

The event was founded last year by East Liberty Division bus drivers Harry Griggs and Noel Sheldon. The two friends and colleagues had long wanted to do something that would bring employees in Port Authority's divisions together. Both weightlifting enthusiasts, Harry and Noel decided a bench press event would be a great idea. When their division established a community outreach program last year, they knew the time was right to create the event and help out a worthy cause in the process.

Their connection to ALS came from Noel’s close friend Eric Zydel, president of the Board of Directors for the ALS Association’s Western Pennsylvania chapter. Eric’s wife, Mary Lou, passed away from the disease, in which motor neurons progressively deteriorate, causing a loss of voluntary muscle control.

There's currently no cure for ALS, but the ALS Association of Western Pennsylvania is dedicated to improving the quality of life for those dealing with the disease by providing care and equipment for local ALS patients, including nursing services, wheelchairs and speech generating devices.

All told, employees at Saturday's bench press event – bus drivers, dispatchers, maintenance workers and more – raised more than $5,500 for the Association.

Check out Bench Press for ALS in the news:

For more information on ALS and how you can help, visit the ALS Association of Western Pennsylvania's homepage.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This Monday: Bus Rapid Transit Forum

A new on-street bus rapid transit service is under consideration in Allegheny County to offer faster, more reliable and easier-to-understand transit service.

On Monday, stakeholders from throughout the community will gather for a Bus Rapid Transit Forum at Duquesne University’s Power Center Ballroom from 8 am to 4 pm. This forum will focus on Pittsburgh’s Downtown, Oakland and East End areas and how Bus Rapid Transit service could improve transportation and serve as a catalyst for community revitalization.

The forum will feature:

  • Discussion from planning, development, and transportation professionals
  • Bus Rapid Transit insights from other cities including: Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Cleveland
  • An appearance by Secretary Allen Biehler, PennDOT
  • Breakout sessions to facilitate discussion of benefits, challenges and community development issues

This forum is open to the public and free to attend. To register, send contact information to

Forum participants include:

  • Allegheny Conference on Community Development
  • Allegheny County Department of Economic Development
  • Allegheny County Transit Council
  • Allegheny County Transportation Action Partnership
  • Bike Pittsburgh
  • City of Pittsburgh - Department of City Planning
  • Hill House Development Corporation
  • National Association of Industrial and Office Properties - Pittsburgh Chapter
  • National Bus Rapid Transit Institute
  • Oakland Planning & Development Corp.
  • Oakland Transportation Management Association
  • Oakland Task Force
  • Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group
  • Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
  • Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development
  • Port Authority of Allegheny County
  • Remaking Cities Institute
  • Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission
  • Sustainable Pittsburgh
  • Traffic21
  • UPMC
  • Uptown Partners
  • Urban Land Institute - Pittsburgh Chapter