Regarding "Scarnati Wants to Overhaul Port Authority" (March 9): The Port Authority should not be viewed as a burden to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. The budgetary reality of the last several contracts ultimately accepted by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 members represented nearly $200 million in concessions. Fundamentally, it's a partnership with local taxpayers and riders to reduce the overall operating costs and try our best to maintain acceptable levels of service.
I invite Republican state Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, who represents rural Jefferson County, to ride my bus with me and learn the crucial service I perform for an expected annual salary of $38,209. Even more important, I would like him to meet and greet my many passengers from all income brackets and geography who rely on public transit to get to work and hospitals, make sure their children arrive safely at schools and universities and continue to build our growing region and all of its fine assets.
State Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch is to be commended for his comprehensive approach to the transportation legislation now before the Legislature. Adequate sustainable funding for roads, bridges, intermodal rail ports and public transportation -- both urban and rural -- will prove to be the linchpin to meeting the economic needs of Pennsylvania.
Sen. Scarnati should rise above the opportunism of the moment and join in solutions to our transportation funding crisis. The moment to achieve this is now in his hands. By the way, I will gladly donate his bus fare for the ride I am offering.
The writer is a Port Authority bus driver and a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85.