Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Hearing

Yesterday, I attended three hours of the latest in the series of public hearings on the Port Authority of Allegheny County's proposed bus route cuts. This hearing was held at the Doubletree Hotel in Moon Township.

Representing McDonald Borough Council, I called on the PAT board members and administrators not to totally eliminate the 33F ("McDonald Express") and 28G ("Oakdale Express").

Most of those commenting yesterday were riders of the 28X bus that connects the Pittsburgh International Airport to Downtown Pittsburgh; riders of the 28K bus that carries commuters between Downtown and a relatively new $2.5 million-park 'n ride in Moon Township; and riders of the 25A bus that takes local workers in the Coraopolis - Moon Township area to mostly retail jobs at The Pointe at North Fayette.

Many of those speaking were commuters who (#1) do not drive, (#2) do not have a car or (#3) come from a family that cannot afford a second car. One Kennedy Township woman who does not drive talked about how she and her family purchased their home because it was located on a busline. She said she would walk to another bus stop but her community has no sidewalks and such a walk would be treacherous in the dark winter mornings.

One young man who rides these buses stated that all of the 50 busiest airports in the United States are connected by mass transit to downtown business districts. Pittsburgh International (which this rider stated was the 42nd busiest airport) would be the only major U.S. airport not served by transit of some kind if the 28X is dropped from the Port Authority's schedule.

Long story short -- it's long past time for the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Governor Rendell to decide on a dedicated source of funding for mass transit in the Keystone State. And it needs to happen before Southwestern PA's already-mediocre mass transit system takes a significant step backward.

(Photo above from PAT's Wikipedia entry.)

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