Share This Page

Port Authority deal saves Trafford bus routes

| Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

Public bus routes will serve Trafford for at least another year because of an increase in state funding and a new union contract for the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

Though some budget details are in flux, authority officials rescinded a plan that would have eliminated the 69 Trafford route and the P69 Trafford Flyer express route as part of a 35-percent service reduction that was scheduled to take effect on Sept. 2 to close a projected $64 million deficit.

Authority spokeswoman Heather Pharo said the proposed service cuts were postponed through the end of next August.

“This will allow for time for the state and county to come up with a sustainable and long-term funding solution,” Pharo said.

Authority officials expect to save $60 million over four years because of a new contract with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, the agency's largest union.

The state Department of Transportation also pledged at least a $30-million increase in annual funding. Secretary Barry Schoch said the agency will provide $10 million this year from an account reserved for transit improvement projects.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said the county will kick in $4.5 million annually above the $27.7 million that it provides for operating expenses. As much as $3 million could come from the Allegheny Regional Asset District, which generates money for regional projects through a 1 percent county sales tax.

The RAD board must approve the arrangement, Fitzgerald said.

The moves to shore up the authority's finances relieved Trafford officials, who were worried about the potential loss of service that the authority has provided since 1964.

“(Residents) need it, and I appreciate (Port Authority) doing it,” Councilwoman Rita Windsor said. “There's a lot of people that depend on the bus, especially senior citizens.”

Authority officials worked with Trafford last spring to retain bus service and shuffle bus stops in town despite the closing of the Trafford Veterans Memorial Bridge for reconstruction.

Though the bridge isn't scheduled to reopen until late 2013, the authority intends to continue the detoured routes, Pharo said.

Council President Rich Laird said he hopes the authority is getting what it needs to keep the routes in place long-term because bus service is a “big asset” for residents.

“Once the bridge project is done, we'll put the bus stop back in there (at Brinton Avenue and Fifth Street) and continue like we did in the past.”

Staff writer Chris Foreman contributed to this report.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.