PRESS RELEASE: Over a Hundred PA Transit Riders and Workers Rally in Harrisburg to Launch the Transit for All PA! Platform, Calling for Fully-Funded Transit to Meet the Needs of Workers and the Economy
Laura Chu Wiens, Executive Director, Pittsburghers for Public Transit and member of Governor Wolf’s Transportation Revenue Options Commission (703) 424-0854
John Habanec, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1241 Lancaster, (717) 201-8103
Freda Tepfer,retired Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Erie NAACP Chapter Member, and long-time transit rider, (814) 520-8201
What: Over 100 transit riders, transit workers and organizational supporters from across the Commonwealth will rally in Harrisburg on the capitol steps to launch the Transit for All PA! Platform. This grassroots transit funding platform and campaign is the culmination of more than 300 transit riders and workers from regions such as Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, State College, Scranton, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia developing transit funding goals, policy priorities and preferred funding mechanisms over several months. More than 80 organizations, elected officials and businesses have signed on as supporters of this platform.
When: Tuesday June 29, 1:00 pm
Where: State Capitol Steps, Harrisburg PA
Why: To sound the alarm! The legislature failed to find a replacement to the state’s major transit funding bill, Act 89, that will sunset in one-year. The clock is ticking for legislators to find a replacement funding source to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in annual dedicated payments to public transit agencies across the state. Without a replacement, this fiscal cliff will result in service cuts, layoffs, fare hikes for millions of PA transit riders and workers, and an economic crisis across the entire state. As a solution, the new Transit for All PA! Campaign puts forward a $1.65 billion platform for transit that moves all Pennsylvanians and boost the state’s economy.
Harrisburg, PA – On June 29th, transit riders and workers will rally on the Capitol to sound the alarm: The loss of Act 89’s dedicated transit funding will jeopardize PA’s pandemic recovery. Essential workers and the goods and services they provide like healthcare and groceries are reliant on fully-funded transit. PA’s economy and the progress towards better air quality and less congestion are contingent on quality affordable and abundant transit, and transit reliably improves economic mobility and public health for the Commonwealth’s older adults, people with disabilities, youth, low-income households and people of color. The sunset of Act 89 will also risk the livelihoods of thousands of good, union jobs for workers in transit service provision and transit parts manufacturing in all regions of the state.
John Habanec, Bus Operator and President of ATU Local 1241 says, “My passengers are the grocery store workers who saw us through the pandemic, the seniors and people with disabilities who rely on our buses to get around, and the restaurant and hotel workers who drive Lancaster’s tourism economy. Our region’s recovery depends on fully-funded, affordable public transit.”
Those with the most at stake have come together to develop a solution.Over the last six months, more than 300 transit riders and workers across Pennsylvania have collaborated on the Transit for All PA! platform for fully-funded transit to replace Act 89, calling for $1.65 billion in annual dedicated payments to public transit. This call is in line with the Pennsylvania Transportation Advisory Committee’s assessment of the cost of fully-funded transit in PA to address deferred maintenance and current economic needs.
“Hundreds of riders and workers, from urban and rural communities across the state have laid out a roadmap for fully-funded transit in Pennsylvania. The Transit for All PA! platform turns this transit funding crisis into an opportunity for growing PA’s economy, improving our environment and growing equity among our most vulnerable communities.”, said Laura Chu Wiens, Executive Director of Pittsburghers for Public Transit.
The platform also lays out effective policies that will grow ridership and equity, and which will put state transit funding to work for all Pennsylvanians. More than 80 organizations and elected officials including the PA Budget and Policy Center, the Sierra Club of Pennsylvania, Urban Erie Community Development Corporation, the Scranton Area Community Foundation, and State Representative Austin Davis have signed onto the Transit for All PA! platform.
Freda Tepfer, retired Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Erie NAACP Chapter member, and long-time transit user in Erie County says, “Everyone needs transit, whether they use it or rely on the people who do. I have worked with people in rural areas over 14 counties who relied on demand-based services in order to shop, use medical services, and participate in community life. If rural and urban transit service is improved, more people will use them and our state will reap all of the social, economic and environmental benefits that public transit has to offer. But for this to happen, the state needs a dedicated transit funding source and to allow localities to generate transit resources themselves. It is simple. Transit for All PA! has the vision. Now, legislators need to get it done.“
About the Transit for All PA! Platform and Coalition: Transit for All PA! is a grassroots coalition led by Pittsburghers for Public Transit, the Philly Transit Riders Union, Amalgamated Transit Union PA Joint Conference Board, 5th Square and Transit Forward Philadelphia, with the support of more than 80 other organizations, unions, businesses, and politicians. The T4APA! campaign aims to turn the sunset of Act 89, PA’s major transit funding bill, into an opportunity to improve and expand transit for all Pennsylvanians. Learn more about the campaign and the platform at transitforallpa.org.