FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Chelsa Wagner
Wagner introduces PAT reform bill
HARRISBURG, March 21 – As Port Authority of Allegheny County riders prepare for service reductions next week, state Rep. Chelsa Wagner, D-Brookline, has introduced legislation (H.B. 1162) that would reform the process of appointing members to the PAT board of directors.
Wagner said multiple independent analyses of the authority have identified a lack of diverse viewpoints on the board as a major deficiency in PAT's governance.
"The PAT Board makes decisions that affect the livelihoods of many thousands of our residents, as well as the future growth and viability of our region," Wagner said. "It is clear that tough questions need to be asked during these deliberations, and this will be more likely to occur if board appointments come from multiple sources."
Currently, all nine members of the PAT board are appointed by the county executive. Meanwhile, a large majority of Port Authority funding comes from the state. Wagner said House Bill 1162 would provide board appointments to the governor, the House and Senate Democratic and Republican caucuses and the City of Pittsburgh. The county executive would retain three appointments. Comparable urban transit authorities around the country have similar numbers of state appointments.
"This bill is not an indictment of those currently serving on the board or of the county executive," Wagner said. "But as we seek a long-term transit funding solution in Harrisburg, state leaders are reluctant to provide more money without having a voice on the governing body.
"There are more tough decisions to be made in the future, and I believe they will be made more carefully and with greater transparency if my legislation is enacted."
Wagner has introduced legislation similar to House Bill 1162 in each legislative session since she was first elected in 2006.