Friday, January 7, 2011

County Council May Investigate PAT Slowdown

Allegheny County Council President Rich Fitzgerald is calling on his fellow council members to investigate reports that some Port Authority of Allegheny County “T” drives have been slowing service as an act of retaliation. The “T” has seen long delays during rush hour this week. It is widely believed that some Port Authority train operators are driving under the speed limit as a way to protest disciplinary action against at least two drivers who were alleged to have been speeding. That move came following a PennDOT report that raised concerns that some trains were moving through areas shared with automobiles and pedestrians to quickly. Fitzgerald says the council will vote at its next meeting on a resolution to launch an investigation.

Fitzgerald says he wants to find out what is going on. The Council President stopped short of saying that drivers would be called to testify but did indicate that if the investigation were to be launched the council would want to hear from PAT management. "We will bring the folks in from the Port Authority, take any public testimony that that might be relevant... and try to get to the bottom of this," says Fitzgerald. He says some of this could be more hype than anything and he sees this as a "fact finding panel." County Council has the ability to issue subpoenas.

It is unclear if council can take any disciplinary steps other than restricting county funds that would normally be sent to the Port Authority. "In light of the crises of transportation funding it is critical that the public has confidence that the mass transit system is going to be reliable, that its going to be efficient, that they are going to be able to get to work on time," says Fitzgerald.

Transit Union Members are to hold a news conference on the situation later today.

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