#VoteTransit County Executive Candidate Q&A: William Parker

image description: graphic with a photo of William Parker superimposed over a PRT bus and a yellow/red background.

The Allegheny County Executive is the most powerful person in Southwestern Pennsylvania when it comes to public transit – so it is vital for transit riders to elect a #TransitChampion into the position. The County Executive controls the majority of appointments to the Pittsburgh Regional Transit Board of Directors which control the transit agency’s $500+ million Operating Budget and $200+ million Capital Budget. Additionally, the County Executive controls board appointments and hundreds of millions of budget dollars at numerous County entities that directly impact the public transit system and its riders, such as the County Housing Authority, the County Department of Human Services, and the County Economic Development agency. Good people, robust budgets and progressive policy at all of these entities can transform transit in Allegheny County.

To ensure that transit riders are educated on where these candidates stand on public transit issues and what their vision is for our system, Pittsburghers for Public Transit issued a candidate questionnaire to all of the candidates running for our county’s top posiiton. Check out the answers that this candidate gave to our questionnaire below.

There’s big potential for having a #TransitChampion as the next County Executive, so transit riders are making some big demands. You can read the demands that riders are making for our next County Executive and sign-on to support below:

William Parker’s Answers to the #VoteTransit County Executive Candidate Questionnaire

1. What is your vision for restoring and expanding transit service frequency, span and coverage in the County?

William Parker: As County Executive my vision for restoring and expanding transit services is updating the bus schedules to real times, delays, and potential road closures.

2. If you were the County Executive, would you commit to ensuring that the Department of Human Services discount fare program pilot becomes a permanent zero fare program for all SNAP/EBT households in Allegheny County? How would you ensure that DHS has sufficient resources to sustainably run the full program?

William Parker: I would first like to review the data and conduct a survey before I commit to making a decision that will be permanent. However, I do believe the current pilot is a great program that gives us an opportunity to evaluate how attractive discounted fares can be to riders who take advantage of them to get to work, hospital appointments and the grocery store.

3. As County Executive, how will you ensure that developers in Allegheny County are building more affordable housing near great public transit?

William Parker: As County Executive, I would work with developers and make sure there are guidelines in place before any contracts are approved.

4. How will you ensure that transit riders have a meaningful voice and decision-making power at the highest level of Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT)?

William Parker: I would invest in new technology and add rating features on the bus for transit riders to give real-time feedback from their everyday experiences.

5. What ideas do you have for increasing the amount of regional funding going to PRT?

William Parker: I would partner with corporations, local businesses, and nonprofits throughout the region.

6. As County Executive, how will you ensure that corporations and large employers in Allegheny County provide more funding for our transit system?

William Parker: I would consider implementing a public mobility tax.

7. As County Executive, how will you ensure that both language access and disability access are central considerations in all the programs and agencies that they are overseeing?

William Parker: Train bus drivers to actively look for creative ways to engage with everyone, always be open for questions and concerns. Additionally, I will always consider both language barriers and disability barriers when making critical decisions around them.