Wednesday, May 5, 2010

PAT Needs Funding Soon to Maintain Service

Service cuts and fare hikes are probable unless legislators fill Pennsylvania’s transportation funding gap soon, says Port Authority of Allegheny County CEO Steve Bland.

State lawmakers are scrambling to find $472 million for transportation after the federal government nixed the proposed tolling of Interstate 80 earlier this year.

The Port Authority faces a $52 million operating deficit if new revenue isn’t found soon. Bland says that’s about 15% of the Authority’s operating budget.

He says he doesn’t have a preference for where funding comes from, as long as a reliable source is found by June 30th.

“I mean, it’s very difficult to plan and communicate to passengers about service when you’re not sure from year to year what kind of funding you’re going to have to support that service,” says Bland. “So as long as the revenue source is predictable, and hopefully it increases with inflation, that’s the key issue.”

Bland says while urban areas may feel the effects of transportation cuts quicker than rural regions, road and bridge funding is a statewide issue that legislators need to solve together.

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