Statement in October 2007Edit

October 2, 2007 Allegheny County Council Public Hearing on Council Bills 3375-07 and 3379-07

Testimony by Court Gould, Sustainable Pittsburgh

My name is Court Gould. I am Executive Director of Sustainable Pittsburgh. On behalf of the Board of Sustainable Pittsburgh I am pleased to share this organization's interest in a vibrant public transportation system. We acknowledge public transportation as critical to the County and thus the region's quality of life and economic competitiveness. Public transportation is a regional asset which needs to have stable and reliable funding in order to be viable.

We urge the Allegheny County Executive and Allegheny County Council to adopt enabling legislation relative to the two new taxes (alcohol and car-rental). These taxes, as specifically determined allowable by the General Assembly are needed in order to raise the increased level of required local match dollars necessary to leverage the increased level of state funds available for the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

In levying the full amount of these taxes, we also urge County commitment to provide the full level of local share dollars necessary to realize all available state funding for transit.

In light of the County's budget challenges, use of the two new taxes provides a needed new revenue stream effectively enabling the County to avoid increases in property taxes and/or substantial budget cuts in other critical public programs and/or public transportation.

With the county's share of public transportation funding assured and thus state funding predictable, the Port Authority of Allegheny County is in a much better position to plan today and tomorrow for market-driven operations to meet the County's increasingly critical public transportation needs.

A sustainable public transportation system is imperative to the County having a vibrant and growing economy coupled with social equity and a healthy environment and public.

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