Share This Page

Smaller transit service funds intact under new Pa. transportation plan

| Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, 12:04 a.m.

Under the newly passed Pennsylvania transportation plan, smaller transit services in Allegheny County will get dedicated funding to avoid cuts, PennDOT officials said on Wednesday.

The law, which is expected to raise $2.3 billion annually from increased vehicle-related fees and gasoline taxes by the fifth year, will fund smaller transit services, including the Airport Corridor Transportation Association and Heritage Community Initiatives WorkLink.

Both organizations provide shuttle service from Port Authority routes to job sites: ACTA in the airport corridor, WorkLink in the Mon Valley. Lynn Manion, executive director of ACTA, said PennDOT has provided emergency funding since June after federal dollars dried up.

“It's important for riders that depend on that to get to work. There's 30,000 jobs in an 11 12-mile radius from the stop near Ikea (in Robinson),” Manion said.

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch outlined some details of the funding plan on Wednesday. During the first six months of 2014, the new law will raise $321 million and will earmark $186 million for state roads and bridges, $59 million for public transit, $34 million for local roads and bridges, $12 million for turnpike expansion projects, and $30 million for a multi-modal transit like air, sea and rail-related projects. He contends 50,000 jobs will be added and 12,000 jobs will be preserved.

“Right now, we are working on what we're going to be doing next year. You can expect an emphasis on bridges and safety,” Schoch said. “We'll be aggressively getting under way this spring.”

Schoch said a listing of specific projects with start dates would not be finalized until late winter or spring.

Officials have said the Birmingham Bridge connecting the South Side to Uptown is among the first local rehabilitation projects.

Schoch said it's likely that less than 50 percent of the state's highways would host speed limits of 70 mph. PennDOT must conduct a safety analysis in order for a speed limit to be raised, and areas around cities that are 55 mph likely will not change.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@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.