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Allegheny County port authority proposes fare increases, service cuts to balance FY05 budget

The Port Authority of Allegheny County recently proposed fare increases and service reductions to compensate for a $30 million fiscal-year 2005 budget deficit resulting from reduced Pennsylvania funding, and skyrocketing health care, fuel and pension costs.

During a Nov. 4 public hearing, authority officials will outline and gather feedback on its proposal to increase the base fare from $1.75 to $2.50; eliminate service on weekends, holidays and after 9 p.m.; and cut about one-third of the authority’s 210 rail and bus routes. The fare increase would be implemented by Feb. 1 and service reductions would take effect in March. The port authority also proposes to close one operating location and lay off about 500 employees.

In FY2004, the port authority dealt with a $20 million deficit by transferring $10 million in federal flex dollars and reducing other costs. During the past seven years, the authority has cut $145 million in operating costs by eliminating jobs, implementing wage and hiring freezes, and reducing other expenses.

The port authority isn’t the only Pennsylvania transit agency in financial distress. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is facing a $62 million FY2005 budget deficit, and has proposed increasing fares 25 percent, reducing service 20 percent and laying off 1,400 employees.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/18/2004