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3/6/2007



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Pittsburgh port authority proposes FY2008 budget reductions



Pennsylvania transit agencies are in the midst of yet another budget crisis. Witness the Port Authority of Allegheny County, which is proposing several cost-reduction initiatives that will address the Pennsylvania Transportation Funding and Reform Commission’s request for business reforms at state transit agencies.

The authority proposes to accelerate the departure of employees enrolled in the Deferred Retirement Option Program to July 1; eliminate lifetime health care to non-represented employees retiring after June 30; increase non-represented employees’ health care contributions to 2 percent of their annual salary in fiscal-year 2008 and 3 percent in FY2009; freeze FY2008 salaries for all non-represented employees; freeze the CEO’s salary through June 2009; eliminate 56 non-union jobs, including 20 management positions, mostly through attrition; and reduce the number of assistant general managers from eight to five.

The port authority also would create a planning and development division, which would incorporate the current marketing and communications, service planning and strategic/capital planning divisions. In addition, the information technology department would become part of the finance division and engineering employees would be divided among four different divisions.

Authority officials will recommend the cost-saving initiatives to the board at its March meeting.

In January, the authority proposed service cuts and fare hikes to help make up an anticipated $80 million FY2008 budget deficit. The agency would reduce the number of weekday light-rail and bus trips by 25 percent and raise fares on Jan. 1, 2008. Fare proposals include eliminating the current zone structure and charging all passengers a flat $2 fare, and maintaining the zone structure and increasing the base fare from $1.75 to $2.50.



Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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