(Pittsburgh) Oct. 5, 2015 The Office of Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner today released results of its annual review of “street pricing” by businesses within Pittsburgh International Airport’s AIRMALL.
“County leaders insisted on street pricing when the Airport was built because of the significant commitment of taxpayer dollars to that facility, and this requirement has become even more important as Pittsburgh International has increasingly shifted from a ‘hub’ for connecting flights to being reliant primarily on local travelers,” Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said. “Those who paid to build the Airport shouldn’t have to pay more for a bite to eat or a gift for a grandchild.”
Out of 35 businesses sampled, 12 were found to be offering at least one sampled item at a price higher than an identical or substantially similar item at a non-Airport location.
“As in past reviews by my office, we identified a small percentage of businesses in the AIRMALL to be in violation of ‘street pricing’ on some items. We are pleased to have brought these occurrences to the attention of the AIRMALL management, and they have indicated to us that they have been corrected,” Wagner said.
The Audit did express concern that some businesses have been repeatedly found in violation by the Controller’s Office and in reviews by an AIRMALL consultant, and recommended that AIRMALL management consider instituting penalties for repeat non-compliance.
Even as the Controller’s office performs valuable services for the Allegheny County Airport Authority, such as this annual audit and the recent recovery of $2.5 million in unpaid rental car taxes from Hertz Corporation, the Authority is in court seeking to prevent the Controller from reviewing all Airport Authority operations.
A judge is currently considering the legality of the refusal of the Airport Authority—along with the Port Authority, Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN), Sports and Exhibition Authority (SEA), and County Police—to open their books to scrutiny by the County’s elected Chief Fiscal Officer and her team of professional, certified auditors.
“The work of my office and its team of professional auditors provides great value and benefit to the taxpayers, who understand that public business shouldn’t be shrouded in secrecy,” Wagner said. “I am certain that shining new light on these agencies which have resisted openness and transparency will result in even greater savings and efficiency.”
The full AIRMALL Audit Report can be viewed here
MEDIA CONTACT: Lou Takacs, Communications Specialist