Turzai/Mustio Legislation Aims to Rid Commuters of Port Authority Monopoly
9/17/2008
Reps. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Mark Mustio (R-Allegheny) today introduced legislation, House Bill 2070, which eliminates a state-mandated monopoly on transit services in Allegheny County.
 
Currently, state law gives the Port Authority of Allegheny County the exclusive right over transit within the county.
 
“The Port Authority’s spending is out of control,” said Turzai. “The state cannot bail out the Port Authority every year. This legislation will permit private companies or other regional systems to be able to deliver transportation services too. We need to bring competition into the market place and force the Port Authority to reprioritize their spending and operate more efficiently.”
 
“With ever-increasing energy costs, and problematic contracts, it is time for Allegheny County commuters to have options,” Mustio said. “There are many unhappy riders, and our goal is to get people to work, schools and stores.”
 
To increase Port Authority funding, the General Assembly passed and the governor signed into law Act 44 of 2007. Turzai and Mustio voted against Act 44, which borrowed billions of dollars, increased tolls and allowed Allegheny County to impose a drink tax and car rental tax.
 
A June 2008 Allegheny Institute for Public Policy study ranked Pittsburgh as having the highest operating expense per passenger trip at $4.30, when compared to the mass transit systems of 20 U.S. cities. 
 
The operating budget for the Port Authority during the 2008-09 fiscal year is $350 million, with $88.7 million coming from operating revenues (fares) and more than $260 million coming from government sources. The Port Authority received $206 million in funding from the state for the 2008-09 fiscal year. The federal government contributes $25 million and Allegheny County contributes $30.6 million to the Port Authority’s funding for this fiscal year.
 
Turzai’s and Mustio’s legislation does not privatize the Port Authority; it merely eliminates the monopoly and promotes competition. By enabling competition in Allegheny County, the free market will be allowed to operate and may incent the Port Authority to operate more efficiently.
 
Rep. Mike Turzai
28th District

(412) 369-2230
Rep. Mark Mustio
44th District
(412) 262-3780
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Tricia Graham
(717) 260-6296