It's hard to focus on just transporation for something as "small" (relatively speaking) as a Mayoral campaign. The Port Authority which serves as the mass transit provider for Pittsburgh is not confined to the city limits and is not controlled by the mayor. However, given Pittsburgh's current position as an older city with lots of aging infrastructure (bridges, tunnels and curves oh my!) and with a half billion dollar (and unpopular for that matter) transit project going on within the city limits, these issues have high billing in this election.
This post is meant to be as non-biased as possible. I will do my best to pick apart each bit of information that I do get as evenly as possible. The first post will describe the plan of our incumbent mayor Luke Ravenstahl.
I have contacted his re-election office with the simple question of "What are your plans for transportation infrastructure and transit if re-elected as mayor?" To this point I have not received a response.
There is however the "infrastructure wish list" which was published as just that, a wish list for stimulus funds, which were at that time in the pipeline, and Pittsburgh was taking its place in line. The stimulus money has since been doled out, but I think this list provides a good blueprint of where his administration stands on these topics. Most of the items on this list address current infrastructure (Greenfield bridge repairs, major sewer repairs, etc.) . I certainly can't say anything bad about that, lord knows we have lots of old infrastructure in Pittsburgh.
However, I see little imagination, and little planning for the future in this list. Where's the transit expansion? Where's the commuter rail line Bill Peduto talked about? Maybe there's another wish list out there. If there is I sure can't find it.
Additionally, if you look on the "issues" section of his re-election page, you find his "Blueprint for Pittsburgh's Renaissance." (As an aside, saying Pittsburgh is undergoing a renaissance, is absolutely ludicrous, and actually hurts the recovery efforts of the city. Get the city out of Act 47, and stop the population loss, and then we'll talk). Nowhere in this blueprint is the word transportation or transit even mentioned. The number seven point on his "blueprint" got me excited. However, like all his other points, transportation or transit were not mentioned.
From what I was able to gather (and that's not a lot), transportation, transit and infrastructure are not too high on his list. My guess he is willing to let Dan Onorato fight those battles. I will update this column when someone from Mr. Ravenstahl's campaign responds to my question.
*For the purposes of these posts I will consider transportation to be an all inclusive term to include transportation infrastructure, and transit.
Pittsburgh Street Lights Update
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