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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Transit cuts averted, though new revenue sources remain hazy

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 1:38 PM

State and local officials today announced they would pony up $35 million for the Port Authority, while the transit agency approved a new union contract with massive concessions and voted to postpone service reductions for another year.

In total, the new contract with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 is expected to save the agency $60 million in hard cash over the next four years. The agency has also identified other areas of savings to help it shrink its $64 million deficit.

Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald announced the county will provide $4.5 million for the agency -- $1.5 million from the drink tax and $3 million from the Allegheny Regional Asset District, which funds the arts and cultural assets like the stadiums. State transportation secretary Barry Schoch, meanwhile, announced that the state would provide between $30-$35 million this year.

Though they mostly touted the details for a one-year deal, officials stressed they had developed a long-term plan for the transit agency that has seen decreased state and flat county funding over the last few years, necessitating a 15% cut last year, as well as fare increases.

"There are a lot of unknown factors," Schoch said, regarding where specifically the state would find funds from. "What we wanted to do was get the cost structure under control. The revenue sources will change on annual basis."

Stay tuned for more on transit throughout the day and week.

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