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Expanding Horizons: Governor Shapiro’s Transit Funding Proposal and Its Impact on Westmoreland County


March 1, 2024

The Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce recently took part in a momentous event, hosting a joint press conference with Secretary of Transportation, Mike Carroll. This gathering was convened to delve into a groundbreaking development that has the potential to redefine the public transit landscape in Pennsylvania. Governor Josh Shapiro's 2024-25 budget proposal stands out as a pivotal moment, articulating plans for the first increase in the state's share of public transit funding in over a decade.

Governor Shapiro's forward-thinking proposal entails a 1.75% increase in the state's investment in public transit funding, amounting to a substantial injection of $282.8 million. Over the next five years, this initiative is set to infuse nearly $1.5 billion in new state funding into transit systems crucial for the daily commutes of Pennsylvanians. This proposal underscores a commitment to fortifying the state's transportation infrastructure, ensuring its adaptability to the evolving needs of the community.

For Westmoreland County, this proposal carries tangible advantages, with the Westmoreland County Transit Authority positioned to receive an additional $1 million in new funding if the budget progresses. This injection of resources is pivotal for addressing both current and future operational needs, marking a positive stride toward a more robust and efficient transit system for the county.

Crucially, this added funding is the linchpin for advancing the ongoing transportation development plan, a comprehensive strategy aimed at enhancing access and mobility for all residents within Westmoreland County. At the forefront of this innovative plan is the concept of "micro-transit zones," representing an advanced approach that promises to revolutionize public transportation within our county.

In essence, micro-transit zones empower passengers to summon rides to specific locations within a designated boundary using a user-friendly online application. This pioneering service will operate with a structure similar to the authority's existing Go Westmoreland paratransit system, presently catering to subsidized trips for senior citizens and people with disbailities. However, the micro-transit zones are designed to be accessible to all riders, introducing new mobility options and plans that increase convenience in public transportation throughout our county.

To ensure that the voices of Westmoreland County residents are heard, the Westmoreland County Transit Authority is actively seeking public input on the current transportation plan. Public comment is welcomed until March 22, providing an invaluable opportunity for community members, officials, and stakeholders to contribute their insights and perspectives.

As the President/CEO of the Chamber and a Board member of the transit authority, I strongly encourage all interested parties to participate in this critical dialogue by visiting and sharing their thoughts on the proposed transportation development plan. Together, we can shape a transportation future that aligns with the needs and aspirations of the Westmoreland County community.



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