New hybrid electric bus, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Erik Weber’s photostream

Times have not been easy for those who rely on public transportation. Cuts to routes and fare increases have a direct and immediate effect on their quality of life and their pocketbook. But, the effect is far more reaching than that. Reliable, affordable and safe mass transit is crucial to the health and growth of any city. It is a top consideration among those who are are deciding to move or stay in a region. It lessons traffic congestion, provides environmental benefits and is vital to the economic growth of metropolitan areas.

In April, State Sen. John Rafferty (R-44th District) unveiled a transportation funding proposal that would add $2.5 billion in three years for mass transit, roads, bridges and other transportation issues. His bill has received bipartisan support in the Senate, but then there’s the House…

Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) is in favor of Rafferty’s proposal. The group will hold a rally for mass transit on Tuesday, June 4th at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg. They will also visit the office of every state legislator to help drum up support for the bill and public transit in general.


bus rider, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Eli’s photostream

WESA spoke to PPT Community Organizer Helen Gerhardt in an article about the rally:

“Many people don’t realize just how important public transit is to the urban tax base, which then supports the entire state budget including funds for roads and bridges,” Gerhardt said.

When the PPT returns to the Capitol, Rep. Dan Frankel, Sen. Jay Costa, Port Authority of Allegheny County drivers and riders are expected to speak about their experiences with transit and a piece of legislation Sen. John Rafferty has proposed.

You can join in to show your support for public transit at the rally this week. Port Authority buses will be leaving on Tuesday morning, at 7:30 AM from Freedom Corner in the Hill District and from the David Lawrence Convention Center underpass (click here for more info). You can reserve your free meal and a spot on the buses here, but hurry!

Can’t make it to Harrisburg? PPT has a petition you can sign here.



Untitled, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Roger DuPuis’s photostream