HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForumSkyscraper Posters
     
Welcome to the SkyscraperPage Forum

Since 1999, the SkyscraperPage Forum has been one of the most active skyscraper enthusiast communities on the web. The global membership discusses development news and construction activity on projects from around the world, alongside discussions on urban design, architecture, transportation and many other topics. Welcome!

You are currently browsing as a guest. Register with the SkyscraperPage Forum and join this growing community of skyscraper enthusiasts. Registering has benefits such as fewer ads, the ability to post messages, private messaging and more.

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > Transportation

Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
     
     
  #1  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 4:28 PM
M II A II R II K's Avatar
M II A II R II K M II A II R II K is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto
Posts: 33,988
The Economic Crisis Rolls on in Cities like Pittsburgh

The Economic Crisis Rolls on in Cities like Pittsburgh


May 6th, 2012

By Yonah Freemark



Read More: http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2...ke-pittsburgh/

Quote:
The board of the Port Authority of Allegheny County, serving the Pittsburgh metropolitan region, announced last week that it would have to cut services by 35% by September 2 — the largest cut ever for the agency — if it is not provided an increase in state aid. The agency expects that it will have to increase fares and lay off 500 workers. This comes a year month after the agency reduced services by 15%. The service cuts planned would be, suffice it to say, devastating.

- From Boston — where a 23% fare increase and service cuts were approved a month ago — to Athens, Georgia — where night bus service is expected to be fully eliminated — American cities continue to cut their transit offerings. Friday’s U.S. national jobs report, which showed about 20,000 fewer people working in transit operations in April compared to a year ago (a 5% decline), only reinforced the fact that when it comes to transit service, cuts are the rule of the game. What a paradox: These cutbacks are enforced even as fuel prices continue to rise and the demand for public transportation seems likely only to increase.

- At least part of the problem is the reliance on local and state revenues to subsidize operations costs for bus and rail services in cities across the country. Whereas the federal government was willing to cover more than half of the costs of a $523 million light rail expansion to Pittsburgh’s North Shore — opened in March — it can do nothing to cover the agency’s $64 million operating deficit expected for next year because of Congressionally imposed rules about what Washington can and cannot pay for. The counterintuitive result is that cities that are doing well economically are able to pay for improved transit services whereas those with many economic problems — the ones where transit is often needed most — are left to cut operations dramatically.

- 49 of 50 states, unlike the federal government, have some form of balanced budget rule; cities are almost never able to operate in the red. Meanwhile, competition between states and cities encourages them to lower their tax rates, making the provision of public services all the more difficult. Only Washington is able to borrow during recessions, and thus it must play the role of providing the back-up for public services like transit agencies that are left behind by declining local revenues. Yet current law makes that impossible. The result is reduction in provision despite an increase in need. An important report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities last year, however, suggests that states do have more of an ability to invest in public service provision than they are typically assumed to have.

.....



Before







After


__________________
ASDFGHJK
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 4:41 PM
Wizened Variations's Avatar
Wizened Variations Wizened Variations is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,602
In the US, the old order of municipal services is dying. I suspect in some of the large Canadian cities, too, that the extent of municipal services has maxed out, and, will drop from their current level.

THE US IS JUST GETTING POORER.

I am not discussing class differences, here, but, I am stating that the net taxible income is continuing to drop, and, that almost all governments at all levels, from city through federal*, are experiencing a decline or at least a leveling off of tax revenues.

A) Level off means a drop of taxable income, because commodity prices and health insurance costs are increasing (the inflation is far higher than reported).

B) The post WWII municipal (and to a lesser extent State, and, even lesser, Federal) government employee is increasingly becoming unaffordable, due to pension, health cost, and, wage requirements.

C) The gasoline tax, today less than 10% of retail pump costs, has been effectively frozen by politicians who can only get re-elected via contributions from a few, very wealthy individuals. Even without any contribution to public transportion from the gasoline tax, the levied tax total is lowering with consumption (our roads too often are falling apart).

Perhaps public transportation will morph into a semi-legal system of vans and old buses, with drivers paid 2 or 3 gallons of gas equivalents per hour. Maybe private enterprise along the WalMart mold will step in and provide non-union, non-pension drivers running buses. **

Rest assured, the collapse in services is just starting.

*Only the Feds can print money. Right now we are running about a 35-40% net deficit, covered with printed money laundered through the large finance houses.

**This will involve changing liability laws, easing licensing requirements, etc.
__________________
Bill Gates puts the rate of Chinese growth in perspective
http://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Maki...T.tsrc=Twitter

Time to start thinking differently
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #3  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 5:19 PM
Jelly Roll Jelly Roll is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: NJ/NYC
Posts: 1,261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wizened Variations View Post
In the US, the old order of municipal services is dying. I suspect in some of the large Canadian cities, too, that the extent of municipal services has maxed out, and, will drop from their current level.

THE US IS JUST GETTING POORER.

I am not discussing class differences, here, but, I am stating that the net taxible income is continuing to drop, and, that almost all governments at all levels, from city through federal*, are experiencing a decline or at least a leveling off of tax revenues.

A) Level off means a drop of taxable income, because commodity prices and health insurance costs are increasing (the inflation is far higher than reported).

B) The post WWII municipal (and to a lesser extent State, and, even lesser, Federal) government employee is increasingly becoming unaffordable, due to pension, health cost, and, wage requirements.

C) The gasoline tax, today less than 10% of retail pump costs, has been effectively frozen by politicians who can only get re-elected via contributions from a few, very wealthy individuals. Even without any contribution to public transportion from the gasoline tax, the levied tax total is lowering with consumption (our roads too often are falling apart).

Perhaps public transportation will morph into a semi-legal system of vans and old buses, with drivers paid 2 or 3 gallons of gas equivalents per hour. Maybe private enterprise along the WalMart mold will step in and provide non-union, non-pension drivers running buses. **

Rest assured, the collapse in services is just starting.

*Only the Feds can print money. Right now we are running about a 35-40% net deficit, covered with printed money laundered through the large finance houses.

**This will involve changing liability laws, easing licensing requirements, etc.
I think each state is very different in what their tax base is doing. Add in each state has to follow its own laws for taxes and you again get a big difference from place to place.

On a federal level US GDP is at an all time high. The reason why the US is having all the debt problems currently is for the first time in our history we went to war and cut taxes at the same time.

Add in the fact that with globalization many of the wealthy that got these tax cuts from 2001 onward took the money and instead of investing in the US put the money into emerging market funds transfering this wealth to other countries. This meant that from 2001 onward other countries were getting the physical benefits from the US investment while the Americans had paper profits. Enter the 2008 global meltdown and we saw a lot of the wealth evaporate overnight. Granted, most of those investments have since rebounded but the investment capital is still not coming back to the US.

The problem in the US right now is that taxes are to low. It is not that the US is poorer it is that the Goverment has much lower effective taxe rates then it did in previous years.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #4  
Old Posted May 7, 2012, 5:19 PM
miketoronto miketoronto is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 9,648
All excuses.

I don't have the data or inside knowledge as someone who works for Port Authority Transit. But I can tell you, they were not creative at all in restructuring transit services in Pittsburgh.

One example: Port Authority continues to send South Hills bus routes all the way into downtown, when these bus routes could feed into South Hills light rail lines, without the need to send every bus downtown. Right there you could find big savings in needing less buses to operate on a given route.

These transit systems new thinking, and planners who are willing to take a chance with different ideas and challenge the status quo.
__________________
Miketoronto
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #5  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2012, 2:47 AM
J. Will J. Will is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3,885
http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/1...ansit-cut-deal

Quote:
Aug. 01 — Transit riders and employers in the Pittsburgh region said Tuesday that they're clinging to hope that Port Authority of Allegheny County will come up with a last-minute deal to avert historic service cuts planned for Sept. 2.

Few said they have contingency plans if the cuts would occur.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has helped feed the optimism, saying those working to erase a $64 million hole in the agency's $333.1 million budget are moving closer to a resolution. He won't predict when that might occur.

"I wish I had something more definitive to tell (riders), but I don't," said Fitzgerald, who is directing negotiations for what he said likely would be a four-year contract between Port Authority and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, the agency's largest labor union.

Fitzgerald has said officials could avoid some or all service reductions if the union and management agree to a combined $25 million in concessions and if the state provides a bailout of up to $35 million.
Quote:
"Obviously, Sept. 2 is a drop-dead date, so we're moving with urgency," Fitzgerald said, referring to the date when 35-percent service cuts would take effect — eliminating 46 routes and scaling all others back. Up to 500 Port Authority workers could lose their jobs.

"But if an agreement comes in after that, we could rescind the cuts," he said.

Lucinda Beattie, vice president of transportation for Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, cringed at the latter option.

"You can't just turn a transit system on a dime. Jobs would be lost, riders would be confused, lives would be turned upside-down," she said.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2012, 11:33 AM
tdawg's Avatar
tdawg tdawg is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NY,NY
Posts: 1,669
Exactly Jelly Roll. The whole anti-tax, anti-gov't Tea Party movement means an elimination of public services, everything from teachers to transit. It's horrible. People need to understand that government isn't some distant evil entity, it's made up of people.
__________________
Creative Director in New York City
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #7  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2012, 4:34 PM
Beta_Magellan's Avatar
Beta_Magellan Beta_Magellan is offline
Technocrat in Your Tank!
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Chicago
Posts: 655
For anyone interested, pdfs of the maps TTP and MarkII posted are here (though they’re still fairly fuzzy).

Quote:
Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
All excuses.

I don't have the data or inside knowledge as someone who works for Port Authority Transit. But I can tell you, they were not creative at all in restructuring transit services in Pittsburgh.

One example: Port Authority continues to send South Hills bus routes all the way into downtown, when these bus routes could feed into South Hills light rail lines, without the need to send every bus downtown. Right there you could find big savings in needing less buses to operate on a given route.

These transit systems new thinking, and planners who are willing to take a chance with different ideas and challenge the status quo.
That’s a good point—I’d guess they still feel the need to provide bus service along the lengths of light rail lines as a local/feeder service. Even if they didn’t want to cut those routes in entirety, they could still terminate the bus routes before they reach downtown, saving them a lot of time (and therefore money)spent in downtown traffic , although there would still be a hit due to transfer penalties.

It looks like a lot of the routes being cut are ones meandering around twisty, not-necessarily-of-high-density suburban roads—that’s a very hard market for transit to be operate efficiently in, especially in a market with only a moderately-sized downtown like Pittsburgh’s. I’m guessing most of these route sonly hung on because downtown’s so concentrated and separated by physical barriers, making it a good market for transit. Of course, no matter how strong Pittsburgh’s downtown is (I’m under the impression that, while the whole Pittsburgh renaissance has been good for the region as a whole it hasn’t necessarily strengthened the traditional CBD).

I’m also surprised that no one here’s mentioned the obvious—Pittsburgh’s economic condition may have improved, but it’s still shrinking. The Port Authority really doesn’t have any choice in this matter—it’s only natural that bus services would shrink with it. PACA should be focusing its services on the markets it serves best and the urban areas most primed for further growth and densification, not maintaining service patters that may be decades out-of-date.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #8  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2012, 1:50 AM
Jonboy1983's Avatar
Jonboy1983 Jonboy1983 is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Downingtown, PA (Greater Philly)
Posts: 1,397


How about throwing in a little smattering of mismanagement by the Port Authority? Their costs are astronomical, especially when it comes to union workers and their pensions. I realize the state is strapped for cash (who isn't?), so why doesn't the Port Authority pursue other means of generating revenue?

I know I have suggested the use of adjusted property value for locations located near transit service, but what about the use of tolled highways in a heavy transit corridor, or such corridors where transit service is most viable? Put a toll plaza west/south of the Ft. Pitt Tunnel. If Port Authority is smart, they could re-route all of their western bus routes serving places like Carnegie, Settlers Ridge, Robinson, etc through the West Busway. That, coupled with the tolled bridge and tunnel, could be used as an incentive to promote commuters to use the busway.

Plus, they're talking about extending the T through this corridor to the airport.

Heck, I'm sure it's better than some of the suggestions out there. I'm only trying to think outside the box for my hometown.

Oh, and I'm starting my own planning consultant business. I wouldn't mind doing a corridor study or multiple corridor studies to find out where public transit is not only needed the most but where it's most viable. I know one has long since been done in the airport corridor...
__________________
Transportation planning, building better communities of tomorrow through superior connections between them today...
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #9  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2012, 1:55 AM
MolsonExport's Avatar
MolsonExport MolsonExport is online now
The Vomit Bag.
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Liver & Onions
Posts: 21,861
funny. they will never consider cutting the highway offerings. Of course, I know things are much more complicated, but it needs to be said all the same.
__________________
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know. -Donald Rumsfeld
Didn't you notice on the plane when you started talking, eventually I started reading the vomit bag?
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #10  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2012, 10:17 AM
electricron's Avatar
electricron electricron is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Granbury, Texas
Posts: 2,323
Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by MolsonExport View Post
funny. they will never consider cutting the highway offerings. Of course, I know things are much more complicated, but it needs to be said all the same.
How would you cut highways, spend additional money to hire bulldozers to tear up lanes or spend additional money to pay for laborers and construction materials to build barricades to close lanes? In most cases, it'll be cheaper to just maintain the lanes in good condition than to close them.
New highway offerings get postponed every year. Few highways are ever built on time and under budget. To suggest that highway projects are never cut is lying.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #11  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2012, 5:00 PM
mhays mhays is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,986
Voters and electeds would NEVER choose to take away existing highways or toll them, in any region. Even "road diets," such as turning a 2+2 into 1+1+1, are sold as maintaining capacity.

As for building on time and on budget, my region seems to do well, with both transit and (replacement) highways. Negotiated rather than bid contracting is often a major factor, often using design-build. Another is intentionally underpromising during the decision phase, so they have cushion.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #12  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2012, 5:20 PM
Wizened Variations's Avatar
Wizened Variations Wizened Variations is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,602
Quote:
Originally Posted by electricron View Post
How would you cut highways, spend additional money to hire bulldozers to tear up lanes or spend additional money to pay for laborers and construction materials to build barricades to close lanes? In most cases, it'll be cheaper to just maintain the lanes in good condition than to close them.
New highway offerings get postponed every year. Few highways are ever built on time and under budget. To suggest that highway projects are never cut is lying.
Agreed.

Whether the cause is the reduction of the wealth of the middle class (as reflected in taxable income), the flight of big corporate and private money overseas, the rising real cost of commodities over the medium and long terms, the reiticence of state elected officials to reduce DOT staff while dealing with a lowering- in real terms- of budgets, or a combination of these and more variables, makes no difference, IMO.

The highway budget in terms of putting in new lane miles, replacing bridges and other related infrastructure, and in repaving all but the busiest interstates is dropping, nationwide, in real dollars.

Look at it another way: take the price per barrell of oil and divide that by the gas and diesel tax, and, the number that results continues to grow. Add this to the improvement of the 'average' mileage of the highway fleet, and, the value in real dollars drops even more.

WHAT DOES A BILLION DOLLARS BUY TODAY?
__________________
Bill Gates puts the rate of Chinese growth in perspective
http://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Maki...T.tsrc=Twitter

Time to start thinking differently
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2012, 5:54 PM
Beta_Magellan's Avatar
Beta_Magellan Beta_Magellan is offline
Technocrat in Your Tank!
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Chicago
Posts: 655
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonboy1983 View Post
I know I have suggested the use of adjusted property value for locations located near transit service, but what about the use of tolled highways in a heavy transit corridor, or such corridors where transit service is most viable? Put a toll plaza west/south of the Ft. Pitt Tunnel. If Port Authority is smart, they could re-route all of their western bus routes serving places like Carnegie, Settlers Ridge, Robinson, etc through the West Busway.
Getting rid of federal restrictions on tolling interstates was a pet project of Rendell’s, wasn’t it?

I could see tolling happening if gas tax revenues continue to drop and the gas tax isn’t raised—if the choice is between tolling and vehicle-mile counters, I could see tolling becoming favored (or the gas tax being raised, for that matter).
Reply With Quote
     
     
End
   
Reply

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > Transportation
Forum Jump


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 10:21 PM.

     

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.