Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC) is planning record cuts in bus service largely due to a reduction in state funding this year and going forward. With a new conservative Governor-elect, Port Authority funding is likely to only continue its decline at the state level and our illustrious local officials seem perfectly content to face the demise of public transportation while claiming it's not their problem.
But all is not lost. There's no time like the present to start biking in Pittsburgh. Next Fall, thanks to a final grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, all Port Authority buses will be equipped with bike racks. Currently, about 80% of the buses have bike racks. While your local bus stop (and entire line) may be cut, at least you can reliably bike between home and a further away bus stop. Perhaps it's Allegheny County's long-term plan to reduce its obesity rate which is sitting significantly higher than the national average? Personally, I'd prefer a tax on sugary drinks. A Carnegie Mellon University study last spring showed that a 1% county tax on the drinks would cut usage by 8% and generate $54 Million annually. If we can put the alcoholic drink tax toward Port Authority, why not share the burden with our sugar-guzzling friends? After all, obesity causes more deaths than just drinking alcohol.
But it's not too late for the state to at least restore some of its previous funding and stop shirking its responsibility. Go to keeppghmoving.com and make your voice heard.