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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: March 28, 2013 10:05 AM
From: Senator Joseph B. Scarnati, III
To: All Senate members
Subject: Reforming and Restructuring the Port Authority of Allegheny County

In the near future I will be introducing legislation to reform and restructure the Port Authority of Allegheny County .

The bill would restructure the composition of the Port Authority Board as well as direct PennDOT to study various options to lower operating expenses in order to bring the Port Authority into fiscal solvency.

My proposal would grant appointing authority for the board to a broad array of state and local officials including the Governor, Legislative Leaders, The Allegheny County Executive, The Allegheny County Council, the Mayor of Pittsburgh, as well as elected officials from counties contiguous to Allegheny County. Currently, all nine full-voting members of the board are appointed by the Allegheny County Executive.

The state’s largest mass transit system, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), is governed by a similarly structured board, also comprised of members appointed by state and local officials.

Given the ever increasing amount of funding the state contributes to the Port Authority it is appropriate for state officials to have a voice on the board. It is also important that local influence on the board be attained from a diverse group of individuals. My proposal would allow various stakeholders a seat at the table in an effort to govern the Port Authority in the most efficient manner possible.

Governor Corbett’s transportation funding proposal would potentially provide the Port Authority with an additional $9 million the first year, growing to more than $55 million by the fifth year. This funding would be in addition to the $30 million annual commitment from the state as part of a recent agreement to close a $64 million deficit at the Port Authority. Not including the aforementioned totals, the Port Authority also receives over $150 million in state operating assistance annually.

In addition, the legislation would direct PennDOT to study and analyze potential modernization proposals in regards to the Port Authority, including regionalization, consolidation, and privatization of services. A report would then be issued making recommendations to elected officials and the restructured Port Authority board in regards to initiatives which could be undertaken to achieve cost-saving and efficiency goals.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as SB700