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Rail News: Financials

Pittsburgh port authority signs off on higher FY2012 operating budget


On Friday, the Port Authority of Allegheny County announced its board adopted a $370.2 million operating budget for fiscal-year 2012 that maintains current service, staffing and fare levels. The fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2012.

The budget is up about 3.8 percent compared with the FY2011 budget of $356.6 million. The agency plans to use about $40 million in remaining reserves and the remainder of a one-time $45 million emergency allocation from the state to “stabilize” service, staffing and fares, port authority officials said in a prepared statement. Only $10 million will remain in reserve at the end of FY2012, the agency estimates.

If Pennsylvania legislators are unable to agree on a transportation funding solution by the end of FY2012, the port authority “would face a significant deficit for FY2013 and be forced to cut more service to offset the reduction in funding,” they said. Earlier this year, the agency cut service by 15 percent, increased fares and eliminated 260 positions.

“There's a window of opportunity now for leaders across the state to finally resolve the transportation funding crisis,” said Steve Bland, the port authority’s chief executive officer. “Collectively, we can establish a more reliable and sustainable funding source to ensure public transportation continues benefiting riders in the Pittsburgh region and throughout the state.”

In Pennsylvania, all public transit systems receive a significant level of funding from the state based on a formula. The port authority was supposed to receive $184.1 million, but the state is facing a budget shortfall because of declining sales tax receipts and a federal decision that didn’t allow Pennsylvania to generate revenue by charging tolls on Interstate 80.

The board also approved a $182.9 million capital improvement budget for FY2011-12 and $149.2 million capital improvement budget for FY2012-13.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/27/2011