PITTSBURGH — About 75 Port Authority workers and riders gathered early Tuesday evening in front of the Allegheny County Courthouse — where a County Council meeting was taking place — and rallied against proposed cuts to bus and trolley service.
Protesters wanted the council to pass a resolution asking the Port Authority to spend all of its $45 million in emergency state funding by the end of the fiscal year in June, in an effort to avoid transit cuts that are scheduled to take effect March 27.
The resolution passed, but the Port Authority has not said whether it will go along with the request to shelve the cuts.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 President Pat McMahon said that the Port Authority’s budget is balanced, so there is no reason for the cuts to be made.
“It will affect my ability for literally going everywhere,” bus rider Katrina Kilgore said about the cuts. “It will limit my ability for going to doctor’s appointments, for getting to work.”
Signs at the rally included “Save Our Transit,” “We Need The Bus” and “Pretend We’re A Stadium — Fund Us.”
In December, then-Gov. Ed Rendell struck an agreement with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission to divert $45 million to the Port Authority on an emergency basis to head off a much larger round of service cuts.
The Port Authority has said that a new, smaller round of cuts in March will allow it to stretch the temporary funding over 18 months, rather than spending all of it by June 30.
Also, CEO Steve Bland has called for a larger dedicated source of annual state funding that the authority can count on for its budget each year.