by Marilyn Skolnick, Transportation Chair
After months of concerted effort by the public, the state legislature passed what is now Act 44. This complicated piece of legislation lays out how transportation will be funded far into the future. After all the debating, one would think that the state legislature would have provided enough money to solve all the financial shortfalls for highways, bridges and transit. Well, it didn’t happen. The cuts in service will remain as a result. Unless Allegheny County provides the necessary match for the state allocation ($1 for every $3 from the state), we can look forward to more cuts in service. The County Executive has made it clear that he will not provide the local match from the general fund. In order to make it easier for the county to provide the match, they legislated permission for the county to levy two new taxes, one on liquor by the drink and/or a car rental tax. The County Council has to legislate permission to levy these taxes. So far, the Council has not done so [UPDATE: On December 4, County Council voted for both the drink tax and the car rental tax]. The public needs to make it clear that further cuts in service will create a serious catastrophe for the county (congestion on the highways, additional air pollution, workers
not being able to get to work).