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Unread 01-18-2012, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Portland, OR
4,261 posts, read 3,522,731 times
Reputation: 2840
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Indeed, this is really all about Corbett now--he needs to support a solution to the state's transportation funding crisis, which will include PAT along with everyone else. And it is extremely counterproductive for people to be blaming officials like Ravenstahl instead, because deflecting attention to other political actors just takes pressure off Corbett to do what needs to be done.

So for goodness sake, people--if you care about transit in Pittsburgh, or really transportation of any kind in the state of Pennsylvania, you should be talking about Corbett 24/7, because as of now he is the one official standing in the way of addressing this crisis.
Our local officials need to step to the plate and work with Corbett. Corbett has no clue to what or how it will impact our region, nor does he care. But of course no one else cares because apparently the local politicians wear horse blinders and say that this won't effect the people who voted for them.

This whole mess is an embarrassment to our city and region and our politicans could care less.
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Unread 01-18-2012, 11:11 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 16,270,378 times
Reputation: 2780
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuburbanPioneer View Post
I'd wait for the results of labor union negotiations before pressing on Corbett to do his part.
Honestly, that makes no sense.

Keep in mind, this isn't just about PAT. The state's funding for roads and bridges has also been slashed, along with its funding to every other transit agency. Obviously we have a special interest in PAT here (although we should also care about the other agencies to the extent they affect this region), but from Corbett's perspective PAT is only one part of the overall crisis.

So why should Corbett hold off proposing a comprehensive solution to this statewide transportation crisis until PAT in particular negotiates their next contract?

And of course Corbett isn't making that argument. HIS argument has been that a poor economy is not a good time for trying to deal with these issues. That, in a word, is idiotic. A period in which we are trying to recover from a deep recession is the worst possible time to be slashing transportation services, and we also happen to have lots of unemployed construction workers who could use employment.

But in any event, people need to understand this isn't about special pleading from PAT for a state solution to its particular financial problems. PAT is just one of many victims of a statewide transportation funding crisis, and it makes absolutely no sense to suggest Corbett should be waiting to solve that crisis based on what happens with PAT's labor negotiations in particular.
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Unread 01-18-2012, 11:20 AM
 
4,591 posts, read 1,185,381 times
Reputation: 1864
From the Pittsburgh Tribune article about the source of the problem:

Quote:
An increase in state funding wouldn't avert proposed fare increases of 25 cents per trip in Zone 1, or neighborhoods and suburban communities closest to Downtown, and 50 cents in farther-flung communities.

They wouldn't solve Port Authority's long-term financial problems, either, Ritchie said. Reducing so-called legacy costs such as retiree health care and pension costs also is key, he said. The costs were about $90.3 million last fiscal year, about a quarter of the agency's $352.3 million operating budget, and are expected to rise to $115.6 million in 2016.

The agency can't change benefits for retired workers, but can for future retirees. Contract talks with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, its largest union, are expected to begin this spring. Local President Patrick McMahon did not return a call for comment.
Port Authority buses may not roll for 45,000 - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
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Unread 01-18-2012, 11:23 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 16,270,378 times
Reputation: 2780
Quote:
Originally Posted by UKyank View Post
Or just support declaring of bankruptcy & renegotiate everything. Airlines seem to manage this with little to no disruption on the user end of things.
A PAT bankruptcy would have to be authorized by state law (unlike with the airlines, who can declare Chapter 11 bankruptcies, state and local agencies can only declare bankruptcy under Chapter 9, which requires state authorization).

I have no inherent problem with that idea, but it isn't being considered by the current state legislature and hasn't been proposed by Corbett, and indeed there is every reason to believe they would oppose any such measure (see how they have treated Harrisburg's attempts to declare a Chapter 9 bankruptcy).

So again, to be blunt, this is a red herring. PAT can't declare bankruptcy under current state law, and there is no realistic chance of the state changing the law to allow PAT to declare bankruptcy, and therefore no one should be discussing this idea as if it were actually a real alternative.
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Unread 01-18-2012, 11:25 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 16,270,378 times
Reputation: 2780
Quote:
Originally Posted by LIRefugee View Post
It seems he's been the lone figure standing against Pennsylvania transportation for as long as he's been in office.
Correct. He promised no new taxes during his election campaign, and any solution to this problem will require more revenues. So, he has been trying to avoid doing anything, using a standard set of political dodges.
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Unread 01-18-2012, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Portland, OR
4,261 posts, read 3,522,731 times
Reputation: 2840
Just want to toss this "what if" in the ring...

What if PAT goes under. Will these people still get thier pensions?
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Unread 01-18-2012, 11:30 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 16,270,378 times
Reputation: 2780
Quote:
Originally Posted by robrobrob View Post
I realize that this has been your long standing position on transit but if Corbett is not going to fund public transit who should try and fix it? At some point you really do have to move on and figure out how to save PAT until a governor is elected that is more sympathetic to public transit.
But that may just be impossible.

About the only thing you can even imagine happening is the County trying to make up the state's funding cuts. But the County has no money to spare, and in fact is facing its own budget crisis because of its own state and federal funding cuts.

I guess you could have the County levy a huge new tax for PAT--but if you are making political bets, I'd say that is an even less likely event than Corbett finally giving in.

Quote:
As you also recall, Onorato did more than sit on his hands he actually attempted to broker a deal between the unions and management.
Which wouldn't have solved the problem, it just would have slightly moderated it.

Seriously, PAT should get whatever savings it can in the upcoming negotiations, but it will not be enough to prevent severe cuts.
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Unread 01-18-2012, 11:37 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 16,270,378 times
Reputation: 2780
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goinback2011 View Post
Brianth, it's unlikely the people of - say - Altoona want to pay for people in Pittsburgh to ride the bus. The problem is a PAT problem, created by PAT and must be solved by PAT or by taking PAT into bankruptcy.
I'm sorry, that is just wrong.

Allegheny County pays its transportation-related state taxes like every other county. However, it doesn't get anything close to that amount of money back for roads and bridges in the County, or in other forms of state transportation funding. So Allegheny County asking for some state money for PAT is not asking for people in Blair County to pay for PAT--it is asking for Allegheny County just to get back some of its own taxes. And in fact while state funding for PAT slightly makes up for that gap, Allegheny County still comes out way behind). So right now, Allegheny County is on a net basis paying for transportation in Blair County, not the other way around.

And as I have always said, if the state wants to get out of transportation entirely and let each county go its own way, Allegheny County would greatly benefit, and a lot of rural counties would suffer. But unless and until that happens, Allegheny County absolutely should fight to get state money for PAT.
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Unread 01-18-2012, 11:39 AM
 
3,009 posts, read 1,524,379 times
Reputation: 1551
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
A PAT bankruptcy would have to be authorized by state law (unlike with the airlines, who can declare Chapter 11 bankruptcies, state and local agencies can only declare bankruptcy under Chapter 9, which requires state authorization).

I have no inherent problem with that idea, but it isn't being considered by the current state legislature and hasn't been proposed by Corbett, and indeed there is every reason to believe they would oppose any such measure (see how they have treated Harrisburg's attempts to declare a Chapter 9 bankruptcy).

So again, to be blunt, this is a red herring. PAT can't declare bankruptcy under current state law, and there is no realistic chance of the state changing the law to allow PAT to declare bankruptcy, and therefore no one should be discussing this idea as if it were actually a real alternative.
It's not that it can't be done it's that there is no current political push for it which I don't see why it's not pushed for, are there that many creditors to PAT to protect?
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Unread 01-18-2012, 11:41 AM
 
Location: suburbs
282 posts, read 151,305 times
Reputation: 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Honestly, that makes no sense.
Brian, honestly, lot's of what you say on this board makes little to no sense, but I refrain myself from making such comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
So why should Corbett hold off proposing a comprehensive solution to this statewide transportation crisis until PAT in particular negotiates their next contract?
I didn't say that Corbett should hold off doing his part until after the negotiations. I said that I would hold back pressing on Corbett to do his part until I see some real and meaningful reforms done at PAT for it to deserve my request to Corbett.
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