Statement before                   Glenn A. Walsh

Southwestern Pennsylvania      P.O. Box 1041

        Commission:                                Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

    Governor Rendell’s                   Telephone: 412-561-7876

      Transit Funding                Electronic Mail: < publictransit@planetarium.cc >

          Proposal                                 Internet Web Site: < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

                                                                                2005 June 30

 

Good afternoon. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mount Lebanon. I have been a user and advocate of public transportation for more than 25 years. I was a charter member of the Allegheny County Transit Council, serving from 1984-1989. Today, I am representing no formal organization.

 

Next month, again, you will consider a short-term solution to the financial problems of the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Governor Ed Rendell has proposed to “flex” $113.5 million in funds, originally proposed for highway spending, for Port Authority operating needs. This time, instead of a three-month “fix,” this will resolve PAT’s operating problems for a year-and-a-half.

 

Hopefully, this will be the last temporary fix needed by PAT, as the Governor has set-up a blue-ribbon panel to come up with permanent, long-term solutions to transit funding in the Commonwealth. The year-and-a-half temporary fix should be enough time for fact-finding and recommendations by this blue-ribbon panel, and for the General Assembly to act on those recommendations.

 

In general, State Representative Sam Smith makes a valid observation, in his letter to SPC, that short-term fixes will not result in a long-term solution. However, in calling for an end to such short-term fixes, he does not present any long-term, or even short-term, solution. Practically, to follow his advice, to the letter, would mean a great deal of pain and inconvenience by transit users, while legislative politics slowly grinds to a long-term transit funding solution.

 

Rep. Smith’s suggestion does not recognize the time it will take for the blue-ribbon panel to conduct its work, and the time it will take for the General Assembly to implement the panel’s recommendations.

 

Next month, I urge you to give the time needed for the blue-ribbon panel to complete its assigned task and the time needed for the General Assembly to implement their recommendations. Vote yes, on the $113.5 million “flex” funds, as requested by State Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler, on behalf of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

 

gaw