COVID Safety and Recovery in Public Transportation at the center of House Democratic Policy Committee hearing

HARRISBURG, Feb. 23 -- Chairman Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, said the House Democratic Policy Committee heard compelling testimony about public health and safety efforts in public transportation during today’s hearing.

“The vitality of our public transit systems is important to our commonwealth’s success. People need to get to work safely and on time. It’s also a key factor in business development decisions when companies are making decisions on where to set up shop,” Bizzarro explained. “COVID has created unimaginable challenges and communities across the commonwealth have been resourceful in keeping things operating as safely as possible.”

The committee heard testimony from Leslie Richards, general manager of SEPTA, and Katharine Kelleman, CEO of the Allegheny Port Authority. Both shared regional transportation funding concerns. Richards, former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, shared the need for additional funding mechanisms to ensure they have the dollars needed to maintain public safety efforts and protect vulnerable populations.

“Today’s discussion highlighted the need to invest in infrastructure that would put Pennsylvanians to work and improve public transit,” said Bizzarro. “Our recent hearing on the National Infrastructure Bank could provide solutions to the concerns today’s testifiers brought to light and I look forward to continuing to advocate for projects that put the trades booming back to work and improve our roadways and public transit. It’s essential to our recovery from this pandemic.”

Bob Latham, executive vice president of Associated Pennsylvania Constructors and representing the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition also provided testimony and said he is seeing a rebound in travel and seemed optimistic about where funding is considering the pandemic.

Video and testimony from today’s hearing can be found at