Better transit bill

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Now is the time for Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives to declare its support for Pennsylvania’s families, communities and businesses by voting to fund our decaying transportation system. Our need is great; according to a study conducted by Gov. Tom Corbett’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission, the approximate annual transportation funding gap for 2013 is $4.5 billion.

As an alliance of the municipalities that create Pittsburgh’s urban core, the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT) urges House members to keep the state Senate’s transportation bill (SB 1) intact at the proposed bare minimum annual increase of $2.5 billion.

Our residents, who constitute 93 percent of the Port Authority’s ridership, rely on public transit and the area roadways to get to work and school and to provide for their families. The $2.5 billion included in SB 1 will fund basic maintenance and upkeep of our state’s bridges, roads and transit, while minimizing the impact to taxpayers. The bill’s approach includes innovations like plans for public-private partnerships to develop new types of project funding and sets specific steps to improve the efficiency of transit agencies like the Port Authority, which carries 54 percent of Pittsburgh’s Downtown workforce.

If the House adopts one of the woefully inadequate “emergency funding” proposals (less than $500 million) suggested by some members, transportation maintenance will be dramatically more costly for Pennsylvanians in the future. Accepting inaction or insufficient funding will hurt businesses and make life increasingly difficult for Pittsburgh’s families.

Executive Director
The Congress of Neighboring Communities is a coalition of bipartisan elected and appointed officials from the 37 municipalities that constitute the Pittsburgh region’s urban core.

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