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ACCESS Cuts Temporarily Avoided

State and federal funding prevent the cuts from happening for at least another year.

Hold the phone.

Devastating cuts facing ACCESS riders will not occur in September thanks to a special funding arrangement made possible by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and two federal programs that benefit transit riders with disabilities, according to a news release from Port Authority of Allegheny County.

Port Authority's Board of Directors on Friday unanimously voted to accept the funding and rescind plans that would have reduced ACCESS service hours and service area starting on Sept. 2.

Meanwhile, conversation focused on resolving broader transportation funding issues and the are ongoing and involve officials from the state, county, Port Authority and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85.

The ACCESS funding was made available through the federal Job Access and Reverse Commute and New Freedom programs, both of which are matched by the state.

The Port Authority Board voted to amend its current budget and accept $3.65 million from the state and federal sources, ensuring ACCESS service will remain stable through Sept. 1, 2013.

"This will make a tremendous difference for people with disabilities living outside the Port Authority service area who depend on ACCESS," said Lucy Spruill, an ACCESS rider and the public policy director for United Cerebral Palsy/Community Living and Support Services. "This will allow those riders to leave their homes for work, health care and to enjoy meaningful lives.

"We very much appreciate the efforts of County Executive (Rich) Fitzgerald, the Allegheny County legislative delegation, as well as PennDOT, Port Authority and ACCESS. We look forward to continuing to work together to preserve public transportation for all the citizens of Allegheny County."

The funding is a temporary solution for ACCESS riders. If no longterm solution is in place by Sept. 1, 2013, ACCESS service reductions may take effect then.

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Robert July 30, 2012 at 01:01 PM
The port authority is the BEST EVER at accepting funds for ANYBODY. Two more things they are VERY good at are cutting service and raising prices. They are the undisputed champion of the worst run business year after year after year. No other business is even close. Why don't we get rid of them and bring someone in that can do the job. I was under the impression that the Pa. State Lottery supplied Access to the elderly to fill thier ride needs?
Ed M July 30, 2012 at 03:08 PM
PAT is the most mismanaged operation in the country.
Robert July 30, 2012 at 09:02 PM
You got that right Ed. They refuse to pick up a passenger unless they get 3 million from the State(or Federal government). How bout the bus drivers leading a long parade of cars down the road refusing to pull over to pick up and discharge passengers. A mile long parade of cars has to ride along with the bus. Maybe if we give them another 3.5 mil they will pull curbside on ocassion?

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