Share This Page

Agencies feast on bigger slice of your pie

There always is some justification.

Ever notice that• Government entities and public utilities never want to take more of your money. They have fallen on hard times, and have no option but to separate you from more of your wallet's content than they did before.

Because we happen to be in an unusually active cycle of these justifications, you may have missed a few. Why don't we spend some quality time reviewing them?

• Port Authority of Allegheny County

Proposed fare increases: Base increase of 25 cents, with some one-way suburban fares rising to $4.

Authority justification: We thought the county drink tax that began in 2008 would generate sufficient revenue to indefinitely stave off fare hikes. But evidently there aren't enough alcoholics in the county to support a perpetually mismanaged public transit system.

• City of Pittsburgh

Proposed parking rate increases: Hourly rates rising to as much as $4.50 by 2015.

City justification: We need to raise a quick couple hundred million dollars to prop up the city's ailing pension fund, which we kind of forgot to adequately contribute to for a couple of decades.

Oh, don't give us that look. Like nothing's ever slipped your mind.

• Pennsylvania

Proposed increase to the state gasoline tax: 3.25 cents a gallon to the existing 31.2 cent per gallon levy — effective yesterday, if Gov. Ed Rendell had his way.

Rendell's justification: We have to pay for repairs to our crumbling roads and bridges, and you can't expect the state to use any of the $600 million we recently agreed to borrow to pay for legislators' pet projects in their districts to help get them re-elected. Nor can you expect the General Assembly to tap the $200 million slush fund it maintains for contingency purposes of an extremely vague nature.

• Pennsylvania

Proposed increase to motorist and vehicular fees: Annual vehicle registration fee, from $36 to $45; vehicle titles at purchase, from $22.50 to $28.13; annual inspection stickers, from $2 to $4.06; driver's license fees, from $21 to $23.10; and truck registration, from ranges of $58.50 to $1,687 to $73 to $2,109.

Rendell's justification: Oh, is it my turn to talk again• I thought I was done.

Look, you can't expect us to pay for all of the necessary road and bridge repairs simply by hiking the gasoline tax a measly 3.25 cents a gallon.

• Duquesne Light

Proposed rate hike: 9.3 percent, effective late September.

Company justification: Duquesne Light doesn't desire a rate increase this drastic, but we can't pass up the opportunity to perform this truly compassionate act.

The resulting service disconnections from this rate hike potentially will leave many customers without power. The darkness will leave them unable to review bank balances, which will be dwindling rapidly from increased payments for public transit, parking, gasoline and motorist and vehicular fees.

We will be modestly increasing our profits, but more importantly we will be significantly reducing the stress levels of thousands of people. You can't put a price on that kind of peace of mind.

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.