Port Authority ends fiscal year in the black
By Bobby Kerlik
Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Port Authority of Allegheny County started the past fiscal year facing a $64 million deficit.
The transit agency ended it with a $22.4 million surplus, officials said, thanks in large part to a deal resulting in sweeping union concessions and $34.5 million in emergency state and county funding. The surplus boosted Port Authority's reserve fund to $51 million.
“It's misleading to think there's that kind of money just sitting around the Port Authority,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
Port Authority board members reviewed financial data from the fiscal year ended June 30 at a committee meeting Wednesday. Port Authority's reserve fund is now about 14 percent of the agency's $372 million budget.
Fitzgerald said the surplus will help cover anticipated deficits in coming years when employee raises kick in as part of a 4-year union contract signed in August.
“There's no unexpected windfall here. We made the commitment to the state and the governor to have enough to provide for the contract. Costs will rise in the outer years of the contract,” Fitzgerald said.
The deal reached last summer helped prevent historic 35 percent service cuts. Port Authority and county leaders obtained $25 million in worker concessions and came up with added local funding in exchange for $30 million in emergency state funding. The county's additional pledges — above its $27.7 million subsidy — included $3 million in funding from the Allegheny Regional Asset District and an extra $1.5 million from county drink-tax revenues.
“They agreed this would cover projected shortfalls in future budgets,” PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said of the surplus. “We wouldn't expect them to end the year with a zero balance.”
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, a frequent Port Authority critic, didn't object to the agency running a surplus while collecting emergency state funding.
“There's evidence they're moving in the right direction, but they have to (continue to) focus on operating expenses before looking for new revenue,” Turzai said.
Port Authority is again seeking$3 million in RAD money this year. RAD Executive Director David Donahoe said he hadn't yet reviewed the agency's funding application so he couldn't comment on Port Authority's funding request despite a surplus.
“A lot of organizations (funded by RAD) have a fund balance. That's not in and of itself an unusual situation,” Donahoe said.
Fitzgerald said the RAD money is necessary because the local match is part of the deal to get the state money.
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.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or email@example.com.
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.
- Century III new owner seeks to reverse vacancy trend with new theater
- Corrected performance profiles provided for Pennsylvania schools
- Likely $2.3B influx puts PennDOT big-ticket road projects in play
- Pittsburgh Foundation’s Wishbook features 48 nonprofits
- American soldier charged in Iraq killings of deaf, unarmed teens
- Newsmaker: Kacey Marra
- Newsmaker: Dr. Thomas Michael
- Natural history museum in the red
- Allegheny County District Attorney’s budget bump to fund employee pay raises
- Drug company buys Duquesne prof’s cancer research
- Afghanistan troubles remain, diplomat says