Gov. Rendell has “found” $45 million dollars of Federal Transportation Funds (for Economic Development) to bail out the failing Port Authority. Proponents claim it as a success, stating that it will save more than 500 jobs and postpone cuts to bus and port services.
Pittsburgh’s Port Authority was projecting a $47 million deficit in its 2010-2011 budget. In order to prevent the Port Authority’s threatened closing of 45 bus routes and stoppage of some weekend and night services, Gov. Rendell thought it to be in the best interest of the taxpayers to save these jobs and fund the deficit.
Unfortunately for Pennsylvanians, anytime the government says it saved jobs, it’s usually far from the truth. Take a similar situation where the governor found $700 million to give to SEPTA, PAT, and other transit agencies to “give them time to find a solution.” They didn’t—with costs still rising, these organizations are pushing to tax other sectors of the economy in order to subsidize themselves. If anything, all this $45 million does is postpone the reforms necessary to make the Port Authority cost efficient.
The last question one should ask is: with a multi-billion deficit, and constant moaning about structurally deficient bridges, why was $45 million just laying around for Gov. Rendell to give away?