I had a LTE in the Pittsburgh Trib today (2/1/2007) where I resurrected an older LTE from another paper about the funding of ski lift renovations to a county park. The Trib reported on the reopening of those ski slopes.
My angle was that this older story has something in common with a very recent controversy where bus transit is subsidized in Allegheny County by additional taxes on poured alcohol and on rental cars.
They must have liked that angle because they made it the lead LTE and highlighted its quote "What's next? Will we ... mine reclamation?" at the top of the LTE section.
Boyce Park improvements cost about $1 million ("Dozens take to renovated Boyce Park slopes," Jan. 27 and PghTrib.com), but about $550,000 came from the Growing Greener 2 program.
The May 2005 ballot referendum authorizing GG2 asked:
"Do you favor authorizing the Commonwealth to borrow up to $625,000,000 for the maintenance and protection of the environment, open space and farmland preservation, watershed protection, abandoned mine reclamation, acid mine drainage remediation and other environmental initiatives?"
Magic carpet lifts, snow tubing and other renovations sound like fun, but I can't find mention of them in the above referendum.
We tax alcohol and rental cars to pay for bus service. We "re-appropriate" money for acid mine remediation to pay for ski lifts and snow tube slopes.
What's next? Will we raise bus fares to pay for acid mine reclamation? Will we increase Boyce Park lift ticket fees to pay for targeted bar and rental-car tax relief?
Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato will be at the Boyce Park Ski Lodge on Saturday for a town hall meeting. Maybe
he can explain it, unless the meeting is re-appropriated as a gubernatorial campaign rally.
Mark Crowley of Plum