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by stephen donahue Thursday, Mar. 03, 2005 at 6:16 AM

Public transit riders feel like a leaves being tossed about by contrary winds

On March 1, 2005 the Port Authority was able to cancel the increased fares and the service cuts that were to be implemented during the first week of March. They were able to do this because of a stop gap funding measure that Governor Ed Rendell had finally proposed on the last day of February. This stop gap provides funding for public transit in the commonwealth through the year 2006.

For public transit riders, weary from years of fighting for a legislative package that will provide real dedicated funding for buses, trolleys and trains this stop gap was welcome news. If nothing else it meant that they would be able to take a breather for perhaps a month before resuming their legislative efforts.

Just after returning from a big state wide rally of public transit riders in Harrisburg on February 14, 2005 the bus rider’s group Save Our Transit decided that they had better start a campaign to build support for a stop gap funding measure with the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission (SPC). It seemed obvious by the lousy reception they received in Harrisburg on February 14 that once again the PA state law makers were telling public transit riders to go to hell. A stop gap from Governor Rendell was the last chance to prevent a 27% cut in public transit service in Allegheny County during 2005. Governor Rendell had been giving hints that he would propose some sort of stop gap that would “flex” federal highway money over to public transit. Such a move would require the support of the regional planning folks – the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission and the word was out that these people were not at all willing to surrender their highway money over to public transit.

The joy that came with the announcement from the Port Authority that fares would not go up and that service would not be cut as planned was short lived. Within hours of Rendell’s announced stop gap, SPC members began to go public with announcements of their own. SPC members, from counties like Indiana. Lawrence and Beaver have said that they won’t support the flexing of highway funds for public transit.

Right now public transit riders in Allegheny County are writing, calling and faxing as many of the over 50 SPC members that they can. The SPC will meet on Thursday March 10, 2005 at 4:30PM to vote on Mr. Rendell’s stop gap funding for public transit. They will meet on the 31st Floor in the Regional Enterprise Tower at 424 Sixth Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. For more information and for contact information on SPC members go to their web site

On Tuesday March 8 the Pittsburgh City Council will issue a proclamation in support of the stop gap relief measure at their regular meeting. Public transit riders are encouraged to attend this meeting.

Public transit riders in Allegheny County might feel like leave being tossed about by the contrary winds of politics but in the final analysis it will be up to them to no longer let policy makers use them. Public transit riders far out number politicians.

Because we ain’t out of the woods yet.

Yes, the Gov. has proposed a mighty stop gap measure.
Yes, the Port Authority has cancelled all service cuts and fare hikes.
BUT, all this will come apart if the Southwest PA Commission (SPC) tells Rendell to shove his stop gap and some on the SPC want to do that.

AND SO: If you rely of public transit then come to the Pittsburgh City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 8, 2005 in the City-County Bldg., 414 Grant Street at 10:00AM for a rally for public transit. The City will issue a proclamation asking the SPC say yes to the Gov’s stop gap and yes to keeping our buses & light rail running.

Please come if you can. It won’t last long.
You can be back to work or play by 10:30AM

For more information call 4123-361-3022 and ask for Save Our Transit.


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public transit
by karl roenfanz ( rosey ) Sunday, Mar. 13, 2005 at 5:24 AM

in the increase of oil prices we need to keep the bus/trolly systems. the main need for highways is corporate. check back and before most people drove public transit was the main way most people got around. then the gas and truck producers push most cities to go to a bus only system. now if they can kill pub.trans. they will have a captive consumer. with the rise in cost it will be almost impossible to operate our own vehicles. we need pub trans to be able to get out of the ghettos morte than the once a month shopping trips.

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