Understanding fare inequity and providing riders better tech tools are top priorities for the Port Authority of Allegheny County in 2019, CEO Katharine Kelleman says.
The authority hired a consultant last month to study its fare policies, including fare capping, free transfers and ConnectCard users. Kelleman says that, although the review is contracted for three years, initial findings could lead to recommendations as early as this summer.
Kelleman says she also hopes to update the agency's website with fare and bus location information and a schedule for Port Authority meetings.
"We have a lot of technology that we can catch up on," she says, referencing the old website. A beta version of the new site is active now with a form to send feedback.
After The Confluence's morning broadcast, the authority announced its plans to invoice Norfolk Southern Corporation for a $3 million reimbursement related to the South Side freight train derailment in August. In November, Norfolk Southern told the Federal Railroad Administration that a broken rail caused the incident, and the Federal Railroad Administration has indicated that it plans to issue a final incident report later this year.
Later in the program:
Governor Tom Wolf recently proposed a $34.1 billion budget with zero broad-based tax hikes. The proposal would increase overall spending by about $1 billion, which would come from debt management and saving initiatives. Republicans have responded somewhat favorably to the proposal, but there are still some potential pitfalls. Statewide reporters Katie Meyer, Emily Previti, Avi Wolfman-Arent and Brett Sholtis report on the budget’s major changes, including an increase in education funding and renewed health department efforts to prevent opioid addiction.
And proponents on both sides of the gun debate often talk past each other, leaving little room for honest discussion. Playwright E.M. Lewis, who identifies as politically moderate, wrote about her own experiences with guns in her piece, "The Gun Show: Can We Talk About This?" opening this month with Quantum Theatre in multiple locations across Pittsburgh. Each performance will be followed by a discussion. Lewis and Quantum founder and artistic director Karla Boos discuss what they hope people take away from the show.
The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.