Monday, April 11, 2011

Public Transportation Solutions for Pittsburgh

Saturday, April 9th, several Allegheny County Transit Council members participated in an interesting open table discussion within the frame of the Solutions Festival organized by Coro Pittsburgh. The participating members were Jon Robison, Ana Bayne, Michael Sypolt and Stu Strickland.

The Coro Center for Civic Leadership is a national non-profit organization that prepares young people for civic leadership as part of its own fellowship program as well as in collaboration with Americorps’ Public Allies.

The event brought together citizens of Allegheny County who were asked to address issues such as demographics, water quality, pensions and transportation and present their solutions to a group of elected officials. The ACTC members were asked, of course, to participate in the transportation group and our tasks was by no means easy since we had to present short term solutions for the financial issues troubling Public Transportation in Allegheny County. The problems leading to Port Authority’s current financial troubles and recent 15% service cuts were on 1. one side the lack of dedicated funding and 2. on the other legacy costs, i.e. those costs due to previous bad management and investments and previous union contacts. Most of the solutions discussed were focused on increasing funding by increasing ridership as well as state and local funding.

The issue to be addressed when the goal is to increase ridership is: how to provide better access. Better access implies more park and ride options, sidewalks as well as technology solutions.

When the goal became to identify more public funding sources the solutions were split between new state resources such as a Vehicle Mileage Tax and a new local resources such as a tax on land ownership. However, most members of the discussion group agreed that the best would be to convene to an open discussion table as many stakeholders in the public transportation issue as possible for an initial round of comprehensive discussions and realistic solutions. This solution was also stressed in his final presentation by the CORO fellow who acted as an observer – Tosin Abgabiaka. Among the stakeholders that were identified during the discussion:

The Port Authority

The City of Pittsburgh

Allegheny County Council

The Downtown Partnership

Riders through their representatives:

Pittsburghers for Public Transportation

Allegheny County Transit Council

Several major Pittsburgh Universities

ATU 85

1 comment:

  1. They should make a resolution for the problem as transportation is important for everyone. Why are they having issues with funds and I think citizens are paying enough fare and how about business in their truckload shipment?