As Port Authority of Allegheny County riders adjust to the latest service reductions, I have introduced legislation (H.B. 1162) that would reform the process of appointing members to the PAT Board of Directors. Multiple independent analyses of the authority have identified a lack of diverse viewpoints on the board as a major deficiency in PAT’s governance.
The PAT Board makes decisions that affect the livelihoods of many thousands of county residents, as well as the future growth and viability of our region. It is clear that tough questions need to be asked during these deliberations, and this will be more likely to occur if board appointments come from multiple sources.
Currently, all nine members of the PAT board are appointed by the county executive. Meanwhile, a large majority of Port Authority funding comes from the state. My legislation would provide board appointments to the governor, the House and Senate Democratic and Republican caucuses, and to the City of Pittsburgh. The county executive would retain three appointments. Comparable urban transit authorities around the country have similar numbers of state appointments.
This bill is not an indictment of those currently serving on the board or of the county executive. But as we seek a long-term transit funding solution in Harrisburg, state leaders are reluctant to provide more money without having a voice on the governing body. I believe that this reform will assist us in building support for a long-term funding solution that will enable PAT to restore and expand service.
The PAT Board will face many more difficult decisions in the months and years ahead, and I believe they will be made more carefully and with greater transparency if my legislation is enacted.