Allegheny County officials to continue shuttle service in airport corridor, Mon Valley
Allegheny County officials plan to announce Tuesday a proposal to provide county funding to two nonprofits, allowing them to continue shuttle service in the airport corridor and the Mon Valley that takes people to and from work.
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald included county funding of $84,250 for the Airport Corridor Transportation Association and $130,500 for Heritage Community Transportation as part of his 2015 budget to close a funding gap allowing the agencies to continue service.
County Council is to vote on the entire budget Dec. 2.
“Over 60 percent of our riders have an annual household income of less than $10,000,” said Paula McWilliams, president and CEO of Heritage Community Initiatives. “These people are going to work, and it’s allowing them to get to work to support a family. I think that’s a pretty significant service.”
The shuttles cover areas not served by Port Authority. Heritage serves areas from East Pittsburgh to McKeesport and Wilmerding. The ACTA shuttle picks up people at a stop at Robinson Town Centre and takes them to businesses in RIDC Park, the Point at North Fayette and other areas.
Federal funding for both services dried up more than a year ago. State officials included funding for the shuttles as part of Act 89, the state’s new transportation bill, but mandated that the state would only cover 85 percent of costs. The groups had to come up with their own 15 percent local match.
ACTA raised $14,000, including $2,000 apiece from Moon and Findlay, executive director Lynn Manion said. Heritage will rely on the county for its total match, McWilliams said.
“The county money leverages that 85 percent match from the state,” Fitzgerald said. “This is a relatively small amount of money to provide a lot of service to two corridors.”
The county announcement caps more than a year of uncertainty amid funding for the shuttles. Earlier this year, state and business officials opened a “superstop” in front of IKEA at Robinson Town Centre, which included a $966,000 revamped intersection and bus shelters.
“This is really a big deal. Without the 15 percent match, we couldn’t get the state money,” Manion said. “And it’s important to show the county that local business and municipalities support it to the point they’re willing to contribute.”
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.