Airport Corridor Free Rides

The Airport Corridor Transportation Association (ACTA) provides free, on-demand shuttle bus service for employees in the airport corridor area. According to the ACTA, 80,000 riders per year travel to 150 employers in a roughly one mile radius of the Robinson Town Centre. The cost of the service is stated to be $750,000 annually, about $9.40 per ride. 80,000 riders per year is the equivalent of about 220 riders per day. $750,000 dollars in cost per year is $2,054 per day.

Assuming three buses operating for 17 hours per day means on average there are 4.3 riders per hour of bus operation. With two buses, the ridership per hour of bus operation would be 6.5.

No wonder the cost per ride is so high. Let’s hope the taxpayers are not covering that cost. After all, they are already heavily subsidizing the bus riders (probably $3 to $4 per ride) who arrive on the 28 Flyer and the 29 Robinson bus. Presenting a transfer from the PAT bus gets a free ride on the ACTA shuttle at the IKEA bus shelter. And then the riders can request individual pickups when they are ready to come back to IKEA.

No one is opposed to helping folks get to work but at some point, the cost of the ride needs to be borne by the beneficiaries of the service. 150 employers who are benefitting by having employees able to get to work should be willing to make a contribution to the service. If they put in $5,000 apiece per year that would cover the cost. And if they were willing to pay for the cost, they would certainly demand major changes to reduce the outrageous costs. Over $2,000 per day to carry 220 people cannot be close to what an efficient operation would cost. $20 per hour for drivers would cost less than $800 per day. Fuel might cost another $100. And those are generous allowances. Surely, $2,000 per day is far too high.

And to be completely politically incorrect, why can’t passengers chip in a dollar or two a day? Two bucks per day should cover half of reasonable expenditures.

Thus, the appeals for state dollars to pay for the service, while not surprising, is not appropriate or justified.

Steelers’ Ludicrous Rationale for Heinz Field Subsidy

A clearer example of hubris and sense of entitlement could not be found than the Steelers’ justification for having the public underwrite the cost of expansion and upgrades at Heinz Field.

"This state- of- the- art expansion assures that Heinz Field would remain the first-class facility our fans expect and deserve." Is this what we have come to? Fans deserve to have the public subsidize a stadium that is already a tax exempt structure and is occupied by a team that has been massively enriched by the public’s underwriting most of the cost of construction?

For goodness sake, why should fans expect or deserve a first class facility at the expense of the public? When is enough enough? And how is adding seating capacity creating a first class facility for fans? Will they be really good seats for viewing games? Or will they simply add to Steelers’ revenue?

This is a prime example of what is wrong with today’s culture and perforce our economy. The notion that fans of professional sports teams deserve a "first class" facility in which to watch games and the public should subsidize that facility is simply outrageous. One can only marvel that the world has come to this.

The Steelers’ have been enriched enormously by the taxpayer investment in Heinz Field and the rights they received regarding development on the North Shore. The stadium pays no property tax and the Steelers’ rent payment is de minimus considering the value of the stadium.

Why is there so little gratitude on the part of the Steelers’? Is there no limit to their willingness to keep asking taxpayers for more money? If the Steelers’ want to expand the stadium, let the expansion pay for itself.

Or how about this. The Sports and Exhibition Authority will agree to pay for the expansion if the Steelers’ sign an ironclad agreement to pay sufficient additional rent necessary to cover the borrowing costs needed to build it. What could be more fair? But in the world of Steelerdom fair is apparently what they say it is-no more, no less.