Port Authority looks to RAD for funds again
The Port Authority is seeking money for the second consecutive year from the Allegheny Regional Asset District to keep its financial wheels turning.
Some arts groups that depend heavily on RAD money said they feared RAD's $3 million grant to Port Authority could open the door for other cash-strapped public entities to apply.
“That's simply not happening,” said RAD Executive Director David Donahoe, who confirmed Port Authority's application.
Port Authority sought money last year to help prevent 35 percent service cuts. The RAD money it got, along with $1.5 million from the county's drink tax, provided the local matching funds needed to leverage $30 million from the state to head off cuts.
“I'm relieved that there doesn't appear to be a rush from other entities like that,” said Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council CEO Mitch Swain, whose group is receiving $60,000 from RAD this year.
“Everybody in the arts is very supportive of having strong local transit, but I don't view RAD as a long-term solution to transportation. We're really hopeful that a long-term, statewide solution can occur in the fall,” Swain said.
State legislators failed last month to pass a proposal to boost transportation funding by up to $2.5 billion annually, including money for Port Authority. Legislators might revisit the issue when they return from summer recess in September.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald led Port Authority's push for RAD funding last year. Asked whether he thought the transit agency would continue to seek RAD money if state funding increases, Fitzgerald said, “Most likely.”
Fitzgerald said a House proposal would require local governments to come up with more money to get funding from Harrisburg, including a 20 percent local match to receive state funding for operations, up from 15 percent now. The plan would allow local governments to raise income, sales and real-estate transfer taxes to meet the burden.
“It depends what happens in Harrisburg,” Fitzgerald said.
Groups have until Monday afternoon to apply for RAD funding next year. RAD monitors the applicants before they submit applications, determining their eligibility for funding when they seek a password to fill out the online application, Donahoe said.
Donahoe expects a similar number of grant applicants as last year, between 100 and 105. Most already applied online.
RAD uses half of the proceeds from a 1 percent county sales tax to provide grants to libraries, parks, stadiums, cultural groups and other so-called regional assets. RAD is awarding $89.5 million in grants this year, using $3.5 million in reserves along with the sales tax money.
RAD's sales tax revenue through July is even with the first seven months of last year, at $50.2 million, Donahoe said.
Collections were trending about 2 percent below last year through May, but Donahoe said they picked up in part because of strong car sales.
Tom Fontaine is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
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.
- More witness intimidation charges are filed against Plum teacher
- 80 percent of drivers found exceeding speed limit in Mt. Lebanon, Bethel Park
- South Side zoning clashes with parking: Workers hurt
- Wet weather puts Three Rivers Regatta events in jeopardy
- Duquesne man arrested again for Megan’s Law violations
- American Airlines manager arrested in Pittsburgh on sex crimes charges
- Newsmaker: Dr. J. Anthony Graves
- Run-down duplex that Dormont helped to rehab not on the market long
- Pittsburgh capital plans shift to repairs to police, fire, paramedic stations
- 5 teens injured in East Liberty crash while eluding police
- In a first, City of Pittsburgh offers free swim lessons