Onorato Unveils Transportation Action Plan
Public-private partnerships key to expansion of transit
(October 31, 2007)
PITTSBURGH — Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato today unveiled the recommendations of his Transportation Action Team (TAT), which include building rapid transit from Downtown Pittsburgh to Oakland and creating an Oakland Circulator System linking the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University to the Pittsburgh Technology Center on Second Avenue. Additional strategies include expanding the Oakland Circulator to Shadyside, Lawrenceville and the South Side, as well as building a rapid transit system between Downtown and Pittsburgh International Airport.
“The Transportation Action Team spent considerable time evaluating existing transportation plans and identifying feasible projects and programs that will improve mobility and promote economic development in Allegheny County,” said Onorato. “Our goal is linking our region’s three economic centers – Downtown, Oakland and the Airport. With increasingly tight budgets at the federal, state and local levels, we are looking toward public-private partnerships and innovative funding approaches to make these linkages a reality.”
To spearhead the plan’s development, Onorato has created the Transportation Action Partnership (TAP), which will include representatives from the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development, Port Authority of Allegheny County, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh Parking Authority. The County Executive named Allegheny County Economic Development Director Dennis Davin and Allegheny Conference CEO Mike Langley as co-chairs of TAP.
“As co-chair of the Transportation Action Partnership, I look forward to working closely with my fellow members to investigate new technologies and new financing solutions that will improve and sustain our region’s transit infrastructure in the years ahead,” said Langley.
TAP will seek input from Automatic Guideway Transit (AGT) suppliers, equity investors and contractors regarding market interest in developing the proposed system in exchange for right-of-way and development rights in the identified corridors. TAP will also work to develop state enabling legislation to permit public-private transit partnerships.
The Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s Transportation & Infrastructure and Oakland Investment committees have already undertaken feasibility work on the Oakland Circulator System.
“Through the efforts and generosity of leaders from our Oakland institutions and our foundation community, the Oakland Investment Committee has made a significant investment in exploring the feasibility of expanded transit service in Oakland,” said Carnegie Mellon University President and Oakland Investment Committee Member Jared Cohon. “Our work has indicated that there is a technically viable solution for expanded transit service and that financial scenarios for that service must include exploring the potential of public-private partnerships.”
In addition to linking the region’s three economic centers, TAT recommended undertaking transit-oriented development around existing transit facilities, such as the South Hills Light Rail System and Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway, optimizing usage of Port Authority busways, using existing rail lines for commuter rail service, and creating an airport area circulator system.
“A fiscally sound and state-of-the-art public transportation system is vital to the continued economic success of Pittsburgh,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. “As we begin the region’s 250th Anniversary celebration in 2008, our gift to the next generation should be transit infrastructure that encourages redevelopment in the urban core, connects neighborhoods, preserves our open space, and also encourages increased use of public transit.”
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Transportation Action Team Members
- David Hickton, Chair – Burns, White & Hickton
- Lynn Heckman, Coordinator – Allegheny County Economic Development
- Al Ahmed – A & A Consulting
- Jim Burn – Allegheny County Council
- Dennis Davin – Allegheny County Economic Development
- Lynn DeLorenzo – National Assoc. Industrial Office Properties
- Tom Donatelli, PE – Allegheny County Public Works
- Shawn Fox – Allegheny County Chief Executive’s Office
- Sally Haas – Airport Area Chamber of Commerce
- Chuck Hammel – Pitt Ohio Express
- Maureen McFalls – Carnegie Mellon University
- Joe Phillips (deceased) – University of Pittsburgh
- Jim Smith Merrill – Lynch Transportation Group
- Richard Taylor – Port Authority of Allegheny County
- John Verbanac – Idea Mill / City of Pittsburgh appointee
- John Whiteford – Michael Baker Corporation
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