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Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, 8:59 p.m.
 

Bland is toast: Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald supposedly has the votes to oust Port Authority boss Steve Bland when the mass-transit agency's board meets on Friday. The board delayed last Friday's meeting for a week, likely because its chairman, Jack Brooks, disagrees. Nothing like a little (or in this case, a lot of) palace intrigue.

“Independent” authorities?: There's an oxymoron, as the Port Authority situation highlights. Since Mr. Fitzgerald has control over authority board appointments, it's nothing more than his puppet. Running roughshod over authorities has been standard operating procedure for decades. If the state Legislature had any guts, it would act to end the ruse.

Driver danger: In the middle of the power struggle over who really runs the Port Authority comes word that at least one of the agency's standard practices is illegal. By its own admission, the authority says some drivers work marathon shifts of up to 16 hours. But state police say the practice is unsafe and proscribed by law. Do you really want to board a bus or trolley driven by the guy or gal who's already been driving for 15 hours?

The road ahead: Snow snarled traffic on Friday afternoon, ice snarled it on Monday morning and Mother Nature will deliver a two-day mini-spring that will come to an abrupt end on Wednesday. Ah, winter in Western Pennsylvania. Punxsutawney Phil will have his work cut out for him on Saturday.

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