FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Mike Sturla
State Rep. Matt Smith
House Democratic Policy Committee
examines economic impact of Pittsburgh’s public transit cuts
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Port Authority CEO Stephen Bland among testifiers
PITTSBURGH, May 3 – At a public hearing convened today in Greentree by the House Democratic Policy Committee, state lawmakers heard from local officials, employers, workers’ groups and community advocates concerning the anticipated impact that massive cuts to Allegheny County’s public transit system will have on the local economy.
State Reps. Matt Smith and Dan Deasy, both D-Allegheny, requested and chaired the hearing, which examined the potential consequences for the estimated 50 percent of downtown Pittsburgh’s workforce that relies on public transit for its daily commute. Residents and workers in Allegheny County have already decried last month’s vote by the Port Authority Board of Directors to reduce service by 35 percent and increase fares later this year in order to balance its budget. The Port Authority had already reduced service by 15 percent in March 2011.
“Green Tree borough officials approached me with their concern that public transit service cuts will cause a severe and negative impact on businesses and residents in the borough,” Smith said. “We brought together Allegheny County, Port Authority and union officials to hear directly from businesses on the detrimental impact transit cuts will have on the local and regional economy.”
Deasy added, “The testimony heard today was very informative and I thank all of those who participated. It is vital, as we move forward, that any plan to address the mass transit funding shortfalls take into consideration the impact of service cuts on local businesses.”
Those testifying at the hearing included Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County executive; Mark Sampogna, president, Green Tree Borough Council; W. David Montz, manager, Green Tree Borough;
Lynn DeLorenzo, vice president, PWC Property Solutions; Danielle Cannon, property manager, Carriage Park Apartments; Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership; Dennis Yablonsky, CEO, Allegheny Conference; Court Gould, executive director, Sustainable Pittsburgh; Craig Stambaugh, vice president of human resources/corporate services, UPMC; Bill Griffin, vice president/senior director of Contact Center Operations, Dial America; Ryan Lewis, director of Contact Center Operations, Dial America; Bill Caraway, regional director of sales, The Hamister Group; Stephen Bland, CEO, Port Authority of Allegheny County; and Patrick McMahon, president-business agent, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85.
For more information about the Policy Committee and hearing materials, visit www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee.