Port Authority of Allegheny County

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is a little bit closer to once again having a full board. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has submitted his for appointees to round out the newly reformed 11-member board.

The nine-member board of the Port Authority of Allegheny County closed a special meeting Friday without choosing a new CEO, meaning the task will be left to a new board that will feature nearly all-new faces. 

Currently the board is fully appointed by the County Executive, but a bill passed in the state legislature this spring changes the make up of the board to include 11 members appointed, in part, by the state. 

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Starting now, riders along the P1 East Busway will be able to track the vehicles in real time through the Port Authority's website, either on a computer, tablet or smartphone. The new program allows commuters to see either arrival times at specific stops or a map which shows where buses are.

“What it means on a cold, inclement day … whether you’re at home or at work you can look to see where your bus is to know when to go to your bus stop,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) has been appointed to a four-year term on the Port Authority (PAT) of Allegheny County Board of Directors.

The former mayor of the City of McKeesport was chosen by Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) to be a representative from the Senate Democratic Caucus and is the first member under a new appointment process.

Brewster, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, said the new board needs to be able to work together in order to solve the big problems.

The state Senate has approved compromise legislation that would change the structure of the Port Authority of Allegheny County Transit (PAT) board.

Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a measure by Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) that would have increased membership on the PAT board from  nine to 11 with the county executive getting only one appointment compared to the current system where he appoints all board members.

While waiting for the bus that takes you to work Monday morning, you might be surprised when it zips right past you.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) is eliminating nearly 430 stops along 36 bus routes beginning Sunday as the first of several phases of bus stop consolidations.

Spokeswoman Heather Pharo said PAT is only eliminating stops that receive little to no use.

“When I say little to no use, most of these stops were actually used by zero people, and we monitored them in fall of 2012,” Pharo said.

Control of Allegheny County’s Port Authority (PAT) board could be at risk as a bill moves through the state Senate.

Legislation in the Pennsylvania Senate would diminish the power of the county executive when it comes to PAT.

The bill, put forth by Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), would allow state officials to appoint five board members to the transportation agency, compared to all nine members being appointed by the county executive.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

The Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway in Pittsburgh has been designated as only one of five in the nation that meet Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) standards. It has been awarded the Bronze Standard by the Institute for Transportation Development Policy out of basic BRT, bronze, silver or gold designations.

Finding Pittsburgh's Light Rail

May 1, 2013
Emily DeMarco / PublicSource

  Roughly 28,000 people ride the Pittsburgh area’s light-rail system every day. But many more could be using and funding the system if the stops were easier to access. Inspired by a study from the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, PublicSource reporter, Emily DeMarco embarked on a tour of the Port Authority's 52 T-stops. She took photos, gathered audio and asked commuters what they think of the light-rail system.

Noah Brode/90.5 WESA

It was one year ago today that the North Shore Connector light rail line began taking passengers under the Allegheny River.

The efficient movement of people and goods is one of the essential components of sustainable regions. So, too, is keeping public transportation both accessible and operative at the most efficient levels, according to William W. Millar, a nationally known expert in the fields of public transportation and transportation policy.

Millar spoke on these and other transportation issues at the University of Pittsburgh Tuesday during his lecture, “How Will We Travel in the Future? The Role of Transportation in Building Sustainable Regions."

While no major overhauls are in the works, the Port Authority of Allegheny County is planning to alter some bus routes.

Beginning March 17, approximately 35 routes will be tweaked. Heather Pharo, spokesperson for the Port Authority, said the changes are for a variety of reasons including overcrowding along some routes.

When Governor Corbett released his proposed 2013-14 budget of $28.4 billion this month, it included a transportation investment plan.

The governor said that his five year initiative would total more than $5.3 billion--roughly an additional $250 million per year for mass transit in Pennsylvania.

But Jake Haulk, president of the Allegheny Institute, a conservative think tank, said the increased amounts don't add up.