Public transit in the Pittsburgh area is at risk for ‘drastic’ cuts under state budget proposal

A plan introduced Wednesday to balance the state budget threatens a significant amount of funding to the Allegheny County Port Authority and could result in its public transit system having to cut operations by up to half. A proposed cut of $80 million to the agency could mean cuts twice as deep as what the agency sustained several years ago when it was left with a $35 million deficit. Port Authority Spokesman Adam Brandolph said the 2011 and 2012 cuts in state funding and the resulting deficit caused the agency to eliminate 29 bus routes, close the Harmar garage and lay off 200 employees. “These [cuts] would be similar if not much worse,” he said. “We would anticipate these cuts to be just as drastic if not twice as drastic.”

Proposed cuts to various pots of state money — including funds that are allocated to public transit — were the Republican lawmakers’ way of proposing a balanced state budget more than two months after the deadline has passed.

New tests show lead in Pittsburgh drinking water doesn’t exceed EPA limit, but officials aren’t celebrating yet

Even though there is near-universal agreement that it is unsafe to consume any lead, the EPA’s “action limit” is an indication that water systems have to make changes to reduce lead levels if they go above it. The state had ordered the PWSA to conduct this regular water testing after an unauthorized switch in corrosion chemicals that is widely believed to be linked to an increase in lead levels.