Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) issued the following statement regarding Senate passage of legislation to reform and restructure the Port Authority of Allegheny County:
Today’s Senate passage of Senate Bill 700 is a significant step forward for the Port Authority of Allegheny County and for Pennsylvania taxpayers. SB 700 will restructure the governance board of the Port Authority of Allegheny County and also require a study of the possibility of consolidating the Authority with other local transportation organizations as well as privatization of Authority services.
Our state has invested an enormous amount of revenue in the Port Authority of Allegheny County, and it is vital for hard-working Pennsylvanians to be given a voice as to how their money is spent. For Fiscal Year 2012-13 state investment in the Authority was nearly $259 million, which is more than 63 percent of the Authority’s total annual budget. It is also important to recognize that as part of the Senate Transportation Funding legislation, Senate Bill 1, which was overwhelmingly passed by the Senate earlier this month, the Port Authority of Allegheny County has the potential to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in additional state funding over the coming years.
I have engaged in extensive conversations with numerous transportation officials, concerned Pennsylvania residents and members of the Senate from both sides of the aisle on this issue. Senate Bill 700 represents a bipartisan compromise to bring about a much-needed reorganization of the Port Authority Board, which will ensure the future stability and viability of the Authority. Senator Randy Vulakovich deserves tremendous credit for playing a vital role in forging a compromise on this important issue. We recognize the significance of the Authority and are committed to ensuring its success. Services provided by the Authority are central to the lives of area residents, as well as to visitors to the region.