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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Pittsburgh port authority to trim service 15 percent in March


Yesterday, the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s board voted to enact a 15 percent service reduction on March 27 instead of a previously proposed 35 percent service cut. The reductions will impact light-rail service on the Blue, Brown and Red lines.

Trimming service 15 percent will enable the agency to stretch short-term state funding over an 18-month period through June 30, 2012, authority officials said in a prepared statement.

“Unless something drastic and unexpected arises, we believe these service reductions will be the only ones we are forced to make between now and June 2012,” they said.

The service cuts are a "temporary response" to the authority’s ongoing budget shortfall and state's transportation funding gap, officials said. Last month, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission approved a proposal to provide the authority $45 million to help offset both a statewide transportation funding shortfall and a $50 million deficit in the agency's operating budget. The state funds enabled the authority to scale back a 35 percent service cut originally planned for March.

Authority officials plan to continue discussing long-term transportation funding solutions with new state legislators.