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PAT: JOBS AT RISK WITH PRESIDENT'S TRANSIT BUDGET PROPOSAL

 PAT: JOBS AT RISK WITH PRESIDENT'S TRANSIT BUDGET PROPOSAL
 PITTSBURGH, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Following is a statement issued today by the Port Authority of Allegheny County:
 In his State of the Union address, President Bush said he wanted to spur the economy, but as details of his federal budget proposal emerge it is obvious that investment in jobs is clearly at risk as transit funding faces substantial cuts.
 "Last month, the president took great pride in signing the new Surface Transportation Act, but this budget falls far short of what he and Congress so strongly supported," said Port Authority Executive Director William W. Millar.
 The Bush administration has proposed fiscal year 1993 funding for public transportation at a level 45 percent below that called for in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), a bill signed by President Bush less than two months ago. The Act authorizes over $5.4 billion in funding for public transportation for fiscal year 1993. In contrast, the president's proposed federal budget reduces this funding level by $2.4 billion, allowing only $3 billion for public transportation projects.
 "Such a budget proposal pulls back from the administration's commitment to invest in our communities and our economy," said Millar.
 Among other measures, the administration:
 -- Proposes elimination of federal operating assistance in urban areas of over 500,000 in population. This funding cut would cause a $9 million void in Port Authority Transit's (PAT) operating budget. Generating equivalent funding would require a combination of fare increases of up to 25 cents, service reductions of up to 10 percent and up to 250 layoffs of PAT employees. Such service reductions would also threaten existing jobs and job opportunities for many other area residents.
 -- Proposes 49-percent cut in funding authorized for New Start projects. This reduction in funding would dramatically decrease the funding available for important regional priorities such as the construction of the Airport Busway and the extension of the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway.
 -- Proposes 49-percent cuts in both the rail modernization and discretionary bus programs. These cuts adversely impact projects such as PAT's Garage Rehabilitation program and the Stage II Light Rail Transit program.
 "This is bad news," said Millar. "Transportation projects that are vital to southwestern Pennsylvania, such as the Airport Busway, cannot be constructed unless capital funding levels are appropriated as authorized in ISTEA. Furthermore, Port Authority cannot maintain or increase bus and trolley service without federal operating assistance."
 Millar said he would contact area congressmen and U.S. senators to encourage them to fulfill the promise they made to the American people when they passed ISTEA. He is also asking the Allegheny County Transit Council, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Transit Coalition and all other interested parties to work to increase federal spending for job- creating public transit.
 -0- 1/30/92
 /CONTACT: Judi McNeil of PAT, 412-237-7344/ CO: Port Authority of Allegheny County; Port Authority Transit ST: Pennsylvania IN: TRN SU:


ML-JG -- PG017 -- 5386 01/30/92 15:43 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 30, 1992
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