Statement before the        Glenn A. Walsh

Board of Health of            P.O. Box 1041

Allegheny County:            Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

Effect of Public Transit     Telephone: 412-561-7876

Service Reductions          Electronic Mail: < gaw@planetarium.cc >

and Fare Increases          2007 July 11

On County Air Quality       

 

Good afternoon. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon. Today I am speaking as a private citizen representing no organization.

 

Over the last several months, the Allegheny County Health Department has worked hard to convince public policy makers of the public health hazards of second-hand smoke in indoor public spaces. Hopefully, your efforts will soon lead to a state-wide ban on second-hand smoke in most indoor public places.

 

I wish to call your attention to another public health hazard: the probable deterioration of air quality in Allegheny County, due to continual service reductions and fare increases in public transit service, which leads to increased usage of private vehicles, and consequently, additional vehicle emissions. Up until now, state and county public policy makers have only been concerned with the transportation impacts caused by service reductions and fare increases in the Port Authority Transit (PAT) system. It is long overdue that a quantitative study be made of the specific air quality impacts in Allegheny County, of the many service reductions and fare increases implemented by PAT, over the last four decades.

 

The Allegheny County Health Department is uniquely qualified to conduct such a study. Over several decades, the Health Department has compiled air quality measurements throughout Allegheny County. I am asking that the Health Department use the air quality measurements specifically related to motor vehicle emissions, correlated with the precise dates of Port Authority service reductions and/or fare increases, to determine the specific air quality impacts of each service reduction and/or fare increase. This study should also show the air quality impact of the accumulated reduction in transit ridership, due to all of the transit service reductions and fare increases over the last four decades. I am sure the Port Authority can provide you with the exact dates of each transit service reduction and fare increase.

 

Today, I ask that the Allegheny County Board of Health direct the Allegheny County Health Department to conduct such a quantitative study of air quality impacts of public transit service reductions and fare increases. The results of such a study should be transmitted to the public, the media, and public policy makers on the state and county levels.

 

Particularly for a major urbanized area such as Pittsburgh with a history of air quality problems, air quality impacts of public transit service reductions and fare increases should receive strong consideration by state and county public policy makers, when consideration is given to the proper public subsidy level for public transit service.

 

Thank you.

 

gaw

 

 

 

 

 

Internet Web Sites - History of Buhl Planetarium: < http://www.planetarium.cc >

History of Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

Public Transit: < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >