On August 24, the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee held a hearing about the impact of Act 89 at the Allegheny County Courthouse. House Appropriations Committee Chair Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) chaired the hearing and Representatives Mike O’Brien (D-Philadelphia), Curt Sonney (R-Erie), and Representative Jeff Pyle (R-Armstrong, Butler, Indiana) participated. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Chief of Staff to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Kevin Acklin, and representatives from the Port Authority of Allegheny County, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Port of Pittsburgh, and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission testified about Act 89’s benefits for the region’s transportation. All of the testifiers touted Act 89’s positive impact on the region, but noted that there is still work to be done to enhance the Pittsburgh region’s infrastructure.
Key testimony highlights include:
- County Executive Fitzgerald praised the broad coalition that advocated for Act 89’s passage in 2013. He specifically mentioned that nonprofit organizations were a part of the successful coalition. GPNP and its members advocated for Act 89, including through social media at the 2013 annual meeting.
- Acklin described the city’s commitment to equitable transit development by saying, “if it’s not for all, it’s not for us.” He also said that the city is creating a new transportation department, likely to be named the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure. Acklin also said that the city remains in discussions with its universities and hospitals over a voluntary contribution system
- The Port Authority of Allegheny County explained that it was considering significant service cuts prior to Act 89 and that the funding enabled the agency to stabilize its services, and even grow slightly. The Port Authority referenced its guidelines for Transit Oriented Development, which are available here.
- The Allegheny Conference said that it will likely be releasing its “Imagine Transportation” report in January, which will contain new information about the region’s transportation needs.