Port Authority of P.O. Box
Transit Electronic Mail: < email@example.com
Extension Project Internet Web Site: < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit
Good morning. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mount Lebanon. I have been a user and advocate of public
transportation for more than 25 years. I was a charter member of the Allegheny County Transit Council, serving from
1984-1989. Today, I am representing no formal organization.
The continual escalation of costs of the North Shore
Connector project is something experienced in most major public works projects
and should come as no surprise to anyone. What is a surprise is that these cost
escalations were not anticipated. However, this may be somewhat understandable
considering that most people did not expect the great rise in fuel costs over
the last year, which is driving the higher project cost of the North Shore
Port Authority responsibly acted, with the first cost hike,
by deferring construction of the Convention Center link of the project. Port
Authority could responsibly deal with the second cost escalation in the same
way, by deferring construction of the “Allegheny Station,” one of the two
transit stations planned for the North Side.
The other station, the “North Side Station,” would be
located about half-way between PNC
Park and Heinz Field,
providing adequate coverage for both sports venues as well as serving adjacent
developments. The North Side Station would also provide reasonable pedestrian
access to the Community College of Allegheny County, Allegheny
Center, and The Carnegie Science
The overriding question here is whether Pittsburgh will continue
constructing a comprehensive and user-friendly rapid transit network which
reduces traffic congestion, air pollution, and the consumption of fossil fuels.
Despite recent losses in population, travel in the Pittsburgh region continues increasing. It is
essential that more of this travel be attracted to a rapid transit system, to
ensure that the Pittsburgh region does not
strangle on traffic congestion and air pollution, as is happening in other
cities such as New York, Los
Angeles, and Houston.
It is just plain wrong to think of the North Shore
Connector as one isolated project. Originally, it was part of the “Spine Line”
project, which would have built rapid transit from the North Side through
Downtown to Oakland and the East
End. The North Shore Connector is simply one part of a much larger
project to bring rapid transit to the Pittsburgh
region. Extensions of the light rail rapid transit system to Oakland,
further into the North Side, and eventually to the Airport, are absolutely
essential for the North
Shore Connector to show
its real value to the community.
Rapid transit projects are very expensive. Hence, they
can only be built in stages. Due to the high cost of rapid transit construction,
these staged projects will take time to come to fruition—possibly decades. To
prevent regional rapid transit expansion from being sidetracked, as it was in
the 1970s, Port Authority must responsibly deal with the inevitable cost escalations.
Today, that means approving the primary North Shore
Connector contract so this contract has no more cost escalations. This also
means deferring the Allegheny Station, so additional taxpayer’s money will not
be needed to finish the core project: Downtown to the North Side.