On Tuesday, June 29th, more than 100 transit riders, transit workers and allies in the Transit for All PA! coalition convened on the Capitol steps to kick off the fight for a dedicated $1.65 billion dollars in annual funding for Pennsylvania public transit.
Residents of Johnstown, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, State College, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia traveled hundreds of miles to tell their stories to legislators about why fully-funded transit is essential to PA’s economic recovery, to address climate and air quality issues, and to grow equity and access for thousands of underserved residents in both rural and urban communities. 175 residents also sent more than 300 letters to their PA legislators to call on them to support the Transit for All PA platform on Tuesday as well.
If you have not yet written your letter to your reps, calling on them to support fully-funded transit, take action here.
Because of our advocacy, three more legislative supporters from key committees signed onto the Transit For All PA platform on Tuesday: Senator Kane, Senator Kearney and Representative Hohenstein! Now, more than 85 organizations, elected officials and businesses from across the state have sjgned onto this grassroots vision for transit, funded through progressive sources and with policy recommendations to ensure that this funding grows ridership and equity in all of our communities.
Last Saturday, legislators passed a budget in Harrisburg, but they didn’t make a plan for funding transit to address the pending funding cliff. PA Act 89, which provides $450 million in dedicated funding from the PA Turnpike to transit systems in all 67 counties of the state, will sunset next year, which could lead to dramatic service cuts, fare hikes and transit worker layoffs. Moreover, thousands of transit parts manufacturing workers across the state rely on dedicated state funding for PA transit agencies, and these jobs are at stake as well.
*Lionel Randolph, President and Business Agent of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1436 in Harrisburg
*Jessica Wallo, Vice President of Programs and Services at United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA
*Cho Blaise, a Cameroonian immigrant and transit rider in Harrisburg and York
*Alisa Grishman, a Pittsburgh disability rights activist and founder of ACCESS Mob
*PA Representative Joe Hohenstein, House District 177
*Marcus McKnight, Chester transit worker and founding member of the Philly Transit Riders Union (Philly TRU)
About the platform: Those with the most at stake have come together to develop a solution. Over the last six months, more than 300 transit riders and workers across Pennsylvania have collaborated on the Transit for All PA! platform for fully-funded transit to replace Act 89, calling for $1.65 billion in annual dedicated payments to public transit. This call is in line with the Pennsylvania Transportation Advisory Committee’s assessment of the cost of fully-funded transit in PA to address deferred maintenance and current economic needs.
The platform also lays out effective policies that will grow ridership and equity, and which will put state transit funding to work for all Pennsylvanians. More than 80 organizations and elected officials including the PA Budget and Policy Center, the Sierra Club of Pennsylvania, Urban Erie Community Development Corporation, the Scranton Area Community Foundation, and State Representative Austin Davis have signed onto the Transit for All PA! platform.