Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Form letter from Dan Onorato about the silly spending of the tunnel under the rivers

January 22, 2007

Dear Mr. Rauterkus:

Last week during my monthly radio program on KDKA-AM, Marty Griffin shared your e-mail regarding the North Shore Connector. Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding the project.

The North Shore Connector has been in development for a decade and was supported by prior County administrations. The federal government has committed to paying for 80 percent of the project, a level of subsidy that will not be available for future transportation projects.

I requested the money to be used for another project in Allegheny County, but was told by the Federal Transit Administration, in no uncertain terms, that if we did not move forward with the twin tunnels under the Allegheny River, the $348 million in federal funding would be transferred to a transportation project in another region. Please be assured that I am also working with County Council to limit the County’s financial exposure on this project.

The North Shore Connector will be a crucial link in the regional transportation network in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The extension will serve regional assets including CCAC, Carnegie Science Center, Heinz Field, PNC Park and the new Majestic Star Casino. The project also represents the first leg of building light rail from downtown to Pittsburgh International Airport, as well as possible light rail extensions to the North Hills and Allegheny Valley.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your comments. I truly appreciate your input.


Dan Onorato
Allegheny County Chief Executive
This doesn't wash with me. A decade ago Dan was on City Council -- in that part of the city. Then he became County Controller, and had the ability to audit the agency. Dan helped to make this project occur.

The airport is on the other side of the river, last I checked. If this is the first leg to the airport, then we're talking about the first blister on a million mile march.

The design of the light rail takes it to an end at the West End Bridge. The rail lines will NOT be able to navigate around the West End Bridge without another serious investment.

Furthermore, I'd not be so upset about the extension of LTR's system if the stops were placed at CCAC and Allegheny General Hospital. But these stops are for the stadiums. With some effort they could have taken the line to the business district up farther on the North Side.

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