PPT’s 2020 Elections for Coordinating Committee Seats


Pittsburghers for Public Transit is a grassroots, democratic, member-led organization that fights for racial justice and public transit as a human right.  Each July, the organization holds elections for its members to elect a slate of candidates to serve for two years on the Coordinating Committee. The Coordinating Committee is PPT’s equivalent to a Board of Directors, and is responsible for strategizing and executing the organizations campaigns, outreach, governance and fundraising. 

Votes for the Coordinating Committee should only be submitted by PPT Members after they read the bios below and join our General Membership Meeting on Wednesday, July 8th at 7pm.

PPT Membership

A current PPT Member is someone who:

  1. Supports the Transit Bill of Rights
  2. In the last year has organized with PPT to further any of our campaigns – either by attending a Monthly Meeting, joining a rally, phone banking, canvassing, testifying in front of an agency, etc.
  3. In the last year has given a financial contribution or membership dues of at least $2.75 (the cost of 1 cash fare for Port Authority) in the last year.

If you are unsure of your membership status, email info@pittsburghforpublictransit.org or call 412-626-7353 to check.


Below is a list of the nominees in alphabetical order by first name, with a short bio to give background on their involvement in past work for transit justice and other issues. Each nominee has approved and contributed to their bio. PPT Members, please read through all of this info before casting your vote. PPT Members can vote for up to 5 candidates to serve a 2-year term, 2020-2022

Alison Keating

My relevant experience that I apply to PPT comes from reading decades of news articles about development, housing, transit, and, more recently, the history of Allegheny County politics. I like that we don’t play favorites when it comes to politicians or political fights, we’re only concerned about what’s best for riders and drivers, and finding compromises that lead to better service and better understanding.

Going forward, I’m interested in zoning and think we could do interesting work there because it’s part of the system keeps us from having more equitable and diverse development, especially when it comes to whether transit is even considered. You can build all the affordable housing you want, but if it’s 2 hours away from everything (education, entertainment, jobs, health care, family & friends), you’re asking people to spend greater amounts of their time uncompensated, unfree, or to go without having their needs met, and that’s a little-recognized public health crisis for a growing number of people.

Some projects or campaigns that the nominee has been involved with related to PPT, transit justice, activism, and/or movement building.

  • I first joined PPT in 2018 to get cops out of transit, but they’re still there (though not checking fares, as was threatened), so we have more to do. I was voted onto the Coordinating Committee soon after.
  • I lead PPT’s “Research Committee” to assist with gathering information to further campaigns.
  • A few years ago, I made a route suggestion that both increased service in my neighborhood on evenings and weekends, and PAAC’s annual report revealed it saved them $40k/yr.
  • I recently joined One Pennsylvania to get more involved in education and environmental struggles, at the grassroots, on a state-wide level.
  • I’m currently engaged with a group of people trying to get the Columbus statue in Schenley Park down.

Barb Warwick

Barb Warwick is a resident of Four Mile Run. She moved to Pittsburgh in 2014 after living in Germany for 11 years. It was there that she experienced first-hand what it is like to live in a city with safe, reliable, environmentally-sustainable public transportation that is affordable and accessible to all.

Barb became involved with Pittsburghers for Public Transit as part of the fight to defund the Mon-Oakland Mobility project, which aims to build a road through Schenley Park and Four Mile Run for a publicly-funded, privately-operated shuttle service between CMU and the Hazelwood Green development. Watching the PPT team continue to work and organize to oppose this project while simultaneously working on so many other critical initiatives – from the Fair Fares fight to transit worker protection, bus network expansion, and more – has been both eye-opening and inspiring. It has solidified Barb’s understanding of public transit as not just a means of getting people out of their cars, but also as a critical tool for economic equity.

Over the past year, Barb has appeared at rallies, press conferences, and before City Council together with other members of PPT. In addition, Barb ran for and won a seat on the Board of the Greenfield Community Association, where she also serves as co-chair of the Transportation and Development Committee. As she continues to work with and support PPT, Barb would consider it an honor and a privilege to serve on the PPT Coordinating Committee. 

Some projects or campaigns that the nominee has been involved with related to PPT, transit justice, activism, and/or movement building:

  • Collaborated with other residents to develop PPT’s Our Money Our Solutions alternative to the Mon Oakland Connector, and the draft of the City Council Council Resolution on this campaign.
  • Helped develop PPT’s Fair Fares platform along with other transit riders and community organizations.
  • Was elected to the Board of the Greenfield Community Association, and is a member of its Transportation and Development Committee

Bonnie Fan

Bonnie worked in transit for four years before coming to Pittsburgh, seeing laid bare the lack of regard for operators, the policing of riders, and power grabbing mindset of management that prevented any kind of internal change possible. While joining Otolunji Oboi Reed’s Equiticity campaign prior, they found a stronger force in mobility justice worked centered in Black and Brown communities.

Seeing the work made possible with PPT’s grassroots mobilization has changed the way Bonnie orients her work. In seeing the narrative arcs of other cities play out, especially for post industrial cities, they are deeply concerned by the secret privilege of private developers, universities and tech companies when it comes to how the public domain should be made and who it should be made for. In this landscape, also complicated by political and financial relationships, PPT has been one of the few where grassroots voice has been able to fight and win for riders and workers without compromise.

Much of the other work they are involved in is against predictive policing and #NoTechForICE – all of which falls in the realm of tools and decisions made in favor of existing oppressive power dynamics. While grateful to be considered, Bonnie would prefer to cede this seat to anyone who has been a lifelong Pittsburgher or is Black or Brown.

Some projects or campaigns that the nominee has been involved with related to PPT, transit justice, activism, and/or movement building:

  • Led the research team responsible for publishing People’s Audit of the Mon-Oakland Connector
  • Led a class of students to publish a report on near-term transit improvements for the Mon Valley & Monroeville Corridors that could be implemented from PPT’s Beyond the East Busway grassroots transit planning tool.
  • Active with Tech4Society based out of CMU
  • Organizes against predictive policing pilot projects that CMU has launched with the Pittsburgh Police
  • #NoTechForICE – involved with a campaign to stop ICE from using intrusive data tools, and to eventually abolish it.

Christina Acuna Castillo

Christina Acuna Castillo is a Peruvian cultural worker, artist, and organizer based in Pittsburgh. They have served as a translator to recently resettled Spanish-speaking refugees and has taught Latinx youth through Casa San Jose about ways to support, protect, and preserve cultural memories and practices. They now work multiple jobs. They work with the Emergency Response Team at Casa San Jose, providing resources and support for families dealing with ICE, and have spent many years with CSJ organizing with the undocumented community, both young folks and older. Christina is also the Digital Organizer and Artist for Pittsburgh United, working with all three campaign tables around housing justice, worker justice, and water justice. For over two years, they have also worked with the Pittsburgh Foundation as an advisor on their Social Justice Fund and as a grant reviewer for the Rapid Response Fund that is being coordinated by the Pittsburgh Foundation and New Voices Pittsburgh.

Christina creates artwork that is used in protests, vigils, marches, and other community gatherings. They believe that visual arts is an essential organizing and accessibility tool because it helps people imagine what change looks and feels like. And that’s what they have tried to bring to PPT, and that is what they would like to continue to provide to PPT – the visionary and organizing skills and possibly anything in between that is needed. 

Some projects or campaigns that the nominee has been involved with related to PPT, transit justice, activism, and/or movement building:

  • With PPT, Christina has been a part of many campaigns- ranging from the Don’t Criminalize Transit Riders campaign, to the Free Fares campaign and many in between. 
  • Outside of PPT, they have been apart of long-time activism around immigrant justice and racial justice in Pittsburgh, for many years. 
  • They use their art as a way to facilitate any movement building they are apart of, including PPT and PPT’s community partners.  

Dale Hutchison

Dale is the current Financial Secretary for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1743. He was previously the Vice President. Dale is a hard working man dedicated to improving the transportation needs of many Pittsburghers and making sure the safety of all members of Local 1743. Dale graduated college with a B.S. in Public Administration, Minor in Urban and Transportation Planning in 1991. He went on to earn a J.D. from the Duquesne University School of Law in 1995.  Dale has 30+ years of experience as a Contract Specialist and Emergency Management Coordinator. He’s worked with the U.S. Department of Justice and has a dedication to the American Worker.

Some projects or campaigns that the nominee has been involved with related to PPT, transit justice, activism, and/or movement building:

  • Working to regionalize transportation needs of ridership in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Washington Counties, in an effort to allow seamless transportation throughout the greater Pittsburgh area.
  • Has created various Comprehensive plans to improve transportation, starting with both the blue and red lines from South Hills Communities into downtown Pittsburgh.
  • Worked for the Commonwealth of PA’s former Dept. of Community Affairs as a Statewide Consultant, improving affordable housing, proper codes enforcement to insure safe living for renters, including recreation.
  • Under the Americans with Disabilities Act has performed numerous community audits to decrease physical barriers with which we sought out grant funding to make essential corrections to those impediments.
  • Taught classes to other community leaders through both the Dept. of Community Affairs and the Local Government Academy on a regular basis; including statewide training films.

Debra Green

Debra Green has been a member of the PPT Coordinating Committee since 2018, but has been a leader in advocating for improved transit service even prior to her work with PPT. In 2008, Ms. Debra led a petition drive with her co-workers at the Rivers Casino for improved transit service at the casino, and based on that success, she campaigned for service improvements to the Hilltop Parkview Apartments in Duquesne. She was successful in mobilizing hundreds of residents to sign petitions and call Port Authority to request the transit service, and both efforts won life-changing improvements for bus riders.

Ms. Debra became involved with PPT in the effort to prevent devastating cuts to the 61 bus lines in the Mon Valley in Port Authority’s Bus Rapid Transit proposal, and helped design and launch the Riders’ Vision for Public Transit. She was a Beyond the East Busway organizing fellow, helping to get fellow Duquesne residents to take the survey to expand rapid transit into the Mon Valley, and she helped lead the successful organizing effort for weekend service in McKees Rocks. She has testified countless times at the Port Authority board meetings, and has been active with Just Harvest and Put People First in connecting food justice, the fight for universal healthcare and transit justice, and has traveled to Harrisburg to lobby for all of these needs. She was profiled in the Huffington Post for her transit advocacy efforts with PPT.

Some projects or campaigns that the nominee has been involved with related to PPT, transit justice, activism, and/or movement building:

  • Led campaigns for expanded transit service at the Rivers Casino, the Hilltop Parkview Apartments in Duquesne, and McKees Rocks, and helped prevent the 61 bus cuts to the Mon Valley.
  • Developed the Riders’ Vision for Public Transit with PPT, and subsequently was an East Busway fellow, engaging Mon Valley community members on the rider-led transit mapping tool.
  • Is an active leader with Just Harvest and Put People First PA, and connects issues of poverty, food justice, healthcare advocacy and transit justice through advocacy and lobbying with elected officials.

Fawn Walker Montgomery

Fawn Walker-Montgomery is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Take Action Mon Valley (TAMV). She is a former candidate for Mayor in McKeesport and a past candidate for State Representative in the 35th District. Fawn was the first black person & woman to run for a State seat in the Mon Valley. She has a B.A. in Political Science from Johnson C. Smith University (HBCU) and a Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice Administration Point Park University.

Fawn is also a past second-term Councilwoman in McKeesport. She has 18 years experience in the human services field. 

Some projects or campaigns that the nominee has been involved with related to PPT, transit justice, activism, and/or movement building:

  • Long-time activist for Police Accountability. 
  • Leading efforts to decarcerate our schools and say “No” to School Police 
  • Has supported various PPT projects over the years, including: community organizing to defeat the Bus Rapid Transit service plan that would have cut service to her city, co-developed & launched the “Fair Fares” platform, and many more. 

Matthew Macar

Matt’s background is in Political Science and International Affairs, and he currently works in Financial Compliance. While pursuing his Master’s in International Affairs he interned at the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) in Nagoya, Japan. His experience with the UNCRD exposed him to various topics including: Sustainable Resource Use, the Circular Economy, and Sustainable Transportation – which motivated him to apply for the East-Busway Fellowship. He has always been interested in organizing and advocacy work and the fellowship was a great opportunity to learn how to effectively operate a campaign.

Matt attended his first PPT meeting in July of 2019, and since then he has been to nearly every meeting, and has participated in phone-banking, canvasing, distributing masks, attending Port Authority community hearings, and helping facilitate group discussions at PPT meetings.

Matt’s vision for PPT is to continue to strive for transit justice, and to use his position to ensure efforts also take into consideration other important issues such as: poverty, policing, affordable housing, human rights, and a living wage. 

Some projects or campaigns that the nominee has been involved with related to PPT, transit justice, activism, and/or movement building:

  • Supported the Fair Fares Campaign by phone banking, canvassing, and attending rallies
  • Fellow with PPT’s Beyond the East Busway Organizing Fellowship
  • Supported the Poor People’s Campaign with phone banking for turnout

Rahul Amruthapuri

My name is Rahul Amruthapuri and I am from India; I moved to Pittsburgh four years back for my education. At present, I am a doctoral candidate in the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. I got involved with Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) since I believe that public transit is a solution to many issues we are facing. Through my involvement with PPT, I studied the relationship between public transit ridership and other variables as a part of my coursework. For a grant writing class, I developed a proposal on educating communities in Allegheny County on the impacts of autonomous vehicles. During my summer practicum with PPT, I developed maps and other content for the launch of the Riders’ Vision for Public Transit. Later, I worked with fellow PPT members in writing a paper discussing the impacts of autonomous vehicles.

I acknowledge that my involvement with PPT has been limited to data and evidence related aspects, which I hope to remedy in the future. With these experiences, going ahead, I would like PPT to supplement its rider centered approach with evidence whenever possible. My vision for PPT is for it to take up campaigns that not only make all the elements of the Riders’ Vision for Public Transit a reality but also provide other public transit advocacy groups with tools, which they can use in their own campaigns. In relation, I would like the ongoing partnership with the Philly Transit Riders Union to continue and grow. 

Some projects or campaigns that the nominee has been involved with related to PPT, transit justice, activism, and/or movement building.

  • Lead co-author of PPT’s Literature Review on the impact of autonomous vehicles, “Wait, Who’s Driving This Thing?: Bringing the Public to the Autonomous Vehicle Table”
  • Developed program to educate Allegheny County on the impact of Autonomous Vehicles
  • Serves on the Grad Student Organizing Committee for the Pitt Grad Union campaign

Teaira Collins

Teaira Collins is a lifelong transit rider, a Hazelwood community leader, a mother and foster mother, and now a grandmother to six grandchildren. Ms. Teaira met Laura Wiens while at Port Authority testifying for improved transit service in Hazelwood, and has since become a leader in PPT’s Our Money, Our Solutions campaign for weekend service on the 93 and the extension of the 75. Ms. Teaira spoke at the City Council Capital Budget hearing press conference about the Mon-Oakland Connector alongside Barb Warwick, and on behalf of PPT during the Poor People’s Campaign Jubilee Caravan. She is very active in the community, volunteering with The Mission Continues to help veterans and with the Hazelwood Family Support Center to uplift young mothers. Ms. Teaira also runs her own non-profit to advocate for those like her son Judah with Down Syndrome, and fundraises for the National Kidney Foundation to help research related to her daughter’s health.

Ms. Teaira’s excited about the progress towards winning weekend service for underserved neighborhoods like Hazelwood, and is passionate about fighting for reliable and safe transit for all communities. She is dedicated to the fight for low-income fares because it is needed now more than ever for all communities.

  • Hazelwood leader in PPT’s Our Money, Our Solutions campaign to create a resident-based mobility alternative to the Mon-Oakland Connector.
  • Has testified in support of PPT’s #FairFares campaign and to re-allocate transit to ensure that riders are not in unsafe and overcrowded buses, and to ensure that all communities have access to needed transit.
  • Volunteer and community advocate for The Mission Continues, Hazelwood Family Support Center, PPS PTA, and for people with Down Syndrome and Kidney Disease.

Verna Johnson

I am fighting to get free transportation that is based on people’s incomes for Port Authority. Everyone deserves to be treated equally relative to their income. I have been involved with PPT since 2015. First I was part of the neighborhood leadership team fighting for weekend service in Garfield in 2015, and we won! Since then, I have testified with PPT at Port Authority meetings around the importance of maintaining service on the 61 and 71 lines with the BRT plan. I also spoke at a PPT rally to prevent transit policing on the T and a rally before we presented 2,500 “Make Our Fares Fair” petition signatures to the Port Authority Board. I was also one of the sketch note artists for the Fair Fares graphic novel planning meeting.

I do this work because our neighborhoods deserve better routes and better run times, and Port Authority should hear from residents about what they need. People that work for Port Authority are front-line workers, and more should be done to keep them safe.

Some projects or campaigns that the nominee has been involved with related to PPT, transit justice, activism, and/or movement building.

  • Active PPT member since 2015, involved with Garfield Service Campaign, Make Our Fares Fair campaign, a campaign to block armed Port Authority Police from checking fares, and the Transit Justice Graphic Novel Series.
  • Disability justice advocate with the Consumer Health Coalition.
  • Member of the Larimer Consensus Group and the Lincoln-Lemington Consensus Group. 
  • A food justice advocate with Just Harvest. I spoke at one of their events calling for an equitable conclusion to the government shutdown.

PPT Members have until Friday 7/10 at 11:59pm to submit their vote via the button below or by calling PPT’s Director, Laura Wiens at 703-424-0854.

All members are encouraged to read each bio and attend Wednesday’s Monthly Meeting to hear each nominee speak before submitting your vote.