Monday, February 28, 2005

Transit cuts are dodged, again, for now, at last minute

A squeeker. At the buzzer. Hail Mary.

Whatever you call it, the band-aid comes out again for transit.
Rendell provides funds to hold off transit cuts
Monday, February 28, 2005, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Gov. Ed G. Rendell today announced he would transfer enough money to the Port Authority to avoid tomorrow's scheduled fare increase and next week's scheduled service cuts.

Rendell said he would "flex" highway funds, a move that had been anticipated, to help the Allegheny County transit agency make it through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in June.

He also provided money to see the Philadelphia-area agency, SEPTA, get through the year.

Rendell also announce a plan to provide as much as $412 million to Pennsylvania's struggling transit agencies over the next two years if legislation providing other funding is not enacted during that time.

He said his plan would also provide $530 million in new money to repair roads and bridges.

"This plan takes advantage of higher than expected revenues coming to the commonwealth from both federal and state gasoline taxes," Rendell's statement said. "PennDOT is revising its previous projections of revenue expected to flow to the commonwealth over the next two years."

The new funds will allow the state to provide predictable funding to transit agencies over the next two years without cutting highway projects, Rendell said.

But he added that his plan was not a long-term fix and that the legislature would still have to provide a permanent source of funding.

The Port Authority had been planning to increase fares by a quarter tomorrow and reduce service by 12 percent.


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