According to a Tribune Review report this morning (December 17), a rally organized to encourage state legislators to provide more money to the Port Authority drew about 50 to the Mellon Square event. 50 people? What? Couldn’t organizers rouse enough off duty PAT workers, other labor demonstrators and social activists to boost the crowd number?
One can understand the lack of PAT worker participation. They won the latest skirmish over funding with the SPC capitulating to the Governor’s scheme to shift money to PAT-unless the federal government disallows the shifting of money intended for capital projects in the state to PAT’s operating budget or Congress neglects to include the money in upcoming appropriations. The workers are now confident they will not be laid off in drastic numbers and will not be asked to make concessions. So why bother with rallying when it involves going into town on a cold, wintry day?
The well-intentioned organizers should have learned something from the small attendance at the rally. To wit: most people do not want their taxes raised to create a dedicated source of revenue for PAT. That ship sailed years ago when the County adopted a local one percent sales tax to fund regional assets. PAT was not on the list of eligible assets.
Besides, most informed citizens know by now that any increase in revenue to PAT will only strengthen the resolve of the unions not to make compensation or work rule concessions at the next round of contract bargaining. Per rider costs will not come down and eventually more routes will be trimmed or eliminated despite more money from a dedicated revenue stream. It’s Parkinson’s Law for money in union dominated entities. Spending will rise to meet and exceed all available revenue.
In other words, informed citizens have seen how this game is played and are tired of it. PAT’s irresponsible financial behavior over the years has convinced many in the legislature and a large portion of the population that the transit agency is a money pit and requires dramatic remedial action from the Legislature to repair its out of control costs-not more tax dollars.
How pathetic. The only thing the parade led by a PAT bus accomplished was to snarl Downtown traffic. Inquiring minds are probably wondering if things are so tight at PAT how is it able to assign a bus and driver to lead a parade of protesters? How much did that cost? Did the driver work without pay? Doubtful. Did the protesters pay for the fuel? And just think of the carbon footprint of this motorcade. Mon Dieu!