The Port Authority, long starved of sufficient funding from the state and forced to cut service and raise fares, is now in a better financial position after the passage of Act 89, a transportation funding measure signed by Gov. Tom Corbett last year. But that doesn’t mean the transit company is on an express route back to its old ways.
In an interview with the Post-Gazette’s Jon Schmitz last week, CEO Ellen McLean indicated that the authority isn’t about to go wild with its windfall. Although the new money will erase years of projected deficits, it won’t mean a major expansion of service or even a restoration of much of the cuts made in March 2011 under the threat of fiscal disaster.
Instead the authority intends to catch up on nuts-and-bolts maintenance while trying to improve its service and grow ridership. It now has data to do just that.
While some customers may be disappointed, the sure-and-steady policy is a sensible one, since adding a new route can cost as much as $3 million. It’s a shame that the Port Authority can’t take the system back to the way it was — but the way it was included unsustainable deficits.