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New Port Authority board member Tague advocate for disabled

Tom Fontaine
| Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, 10:15 p.m.
John Tague, of Greenfield sits in his Invacare Storm TDX5 motorized chair outside of the UCP Community Service Centre in Oakland on Wednesday, July 7, 2010. 
Joe Appel | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
John Tague, of Greenfield sits in his Invacare Storm TDX5 motorized chair outside of the UCP Community Service Centre in Oakland on Wednesday, July 7, 2010. Joe Appel | Tribune-Review

John Tague Jr. has been an advocate for people with disabilities for more than two decades, but he said he'll use his appointment to Port Authority of Allegheny County's board of directors to fight for all transit riders.

“I'm a rider, so I recognize the importance of transit overall. Transportation is the glue that ties it all together for education, housing, employment,” said Tague, 65, of Greenfield.

Tague, who has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, has been a fixture at Port Authority board meetings for the past 10 years, weighing in on issues including proposed service cuts and fare increases, labor contracts, route adjustments and the importance of the door-to-door ACCESS program that largely serves seniors and people with disabilities.

“For years, John has been a presence at Port Authority board meetings and transit hearings. He has proven himself to be a tireless advocate for riders, especially those living with disabilities,” said Port Authority CEO Steve Bland.

“I have no doubt that his dedication, depth of knowledge and unique perspective will make him an immediate asset to our board,” Bland said.

Tague is principal of JT Consulting Services, which advises companies and organizations on disability policies and training programs. He sits on the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations and the State Vocational Rehabilitation Board, and he is a past chairman of the Governor's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities. He served on two Port Authority advisory boards.

Tague said his top priorities will be working to maintain countywide ACCESS service and a “good working relationship” with Port Authority's labor unions. He says the agency needs increased state funding.

Tague said he lobbied then-County Executive Dan Onorato for a seat on the board upon the resignation of Catherine Getchell, who is blind, in 2008. The post went to Mavis Rainey of Oakland Transportation Management Association, whom Tague called a “marvelous appointment.”

Tague reached out to County Executive Rich Fitzgerald after he took office in January. Fitzgerald nominated Tague in late August, citing his background as an advocate for people with disabilities.

County Council approved the nomination — Fitzgerald's fourth to the Port Authority board since he took office — on Oct. 16. Tague replaces James Dodaro, and his term expires Dec. 13, 2013.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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