Port Authority failure: Gutless acquiescence
The Port Authority of Allegheny County is moving ahead with plans for a 35 percent service cut come March. Hundreds of layoffs are expected, too. And additional cuts to both aren’t out of the question. But the mass-transit agency continues to be in serious denial about what truly ails it.
The authority blames everybody and everything except itself. There’s “the state” and “the feds” for failing to win and authorize tolling of Interstate 80. There’s the Legislature’s “failure” to throw it a bailout. There are the “flat” or falling state subsidies over the years.
But despite reactionary cost- cutting efforts, little or nothing has been done to address cost structure . And that is the product of the political machinations of the likes of Gov. Ed Rendell and county Chief Executive Dan Onorato.
The bottom line, as the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy keeps reminding, is that the Port Authority (based on 2009 numbers) “continues to operate an expensive bus system with per trip costs well above the levels in comparably sized cities such as Cincinnati, Charlotte, Minneapolis and Milwaukee.”
And that all rests with politically bad decisions to placate organized labor, including that third rail of refusing to bar transit strikes.
Something has to give here. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have the guts to force the issue.