Posted by carldavidson on April 4, 2017
Montgomery Locks in Beaver County
By Tom Fontaine
March 31, 2017 – The Army Corps of Engineers has spent more than $17 million over the past 15 years studying what to do about crumbling locks on Western Pennsylvania’s portion of the Ohio River.
Now the White House’s Office of Management and Budget wants it to spend more, according to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton.
“We don’t have time for any more studies, nor are they needed or justified,” Casey said Friday during a stop at the Emsworth Locks and Dams, about six miles downstream of Pittsburgh.
Separately, in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, Casey said a proposed $2.7 billion project to build new, larger lock chambers at the Ohio River’s Emsworth, Dashields and Montgomery facilities is being “unnecessarily delayed” by the office’s request for additional study and economic analysis “to determine whether the proposed project is consistent with the policy and programs of the president.”
The Office of Management and Budget did not return a message.
The three Ohio River facilities began operating between 1921 and 1936. They were built to last 50 years. Beaver County’s Montgomery is in the worst shape. Its two locks share a wall that is cracked. If the crack gets bad enough, authorities could be forced to close both locks in a move that would halt river traffic in both directions, said Col. John P. Lloyd, commander of the Army Corps’ Pittsburgh District.
“Surely, maintaining the health of this significant commercial inland waterways corridor, saving project costs and using taxpayer dollars wisely, and protecting and creating thousands of jobs are more than consistent with the president’s policies,” Casey said in his letter.
Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7847 or email@example.com.
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Posted by carldavidson on December 27, 2014
By Alicia Williamson
Dec 27, 2014 – I first got involved in transit-related activism in 2010 through my support for organized labor. A major public funding gap threatened the solvency of Pittsburgh’s public mass transit system, and—in line with so many recent attacks we’ve seen on public-sector unions—the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) was taking the brunt of the blame for the projected 30% cut.
The myth of the “overpaid” bus driver as an excuse and scapegoat for draconian government austerity measures was hardly unique to Pittsburgh (see, for example, Oregon, Madison, and New York). The gross exaggeration in such accounts of the $100K-per-year driver is beside the point.
It’s a line of classist rhetoric that depends upon invoking a sense of meritocratic rage against decent compensation for workers who are perceived to be “unskilled.” Most frustratingly, it shows how easily workers can be divided against one another in a climate where most accept neoliberal economic scarcity as a given.
Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) was founded as a coalition of riders and drivers to fight rampant layoffs, service cuts, fare hikes, and privatization while building solidarity among the working people who operate and use transit. Indeed, public transit is essential to Pittsburgh’s urban labor force, and over half of all workers in the city’s major employment centers use it for their daily commute, accounting for 86% of all ridership. Service cuts were tantamount to job losses not only for drivers but also for many riders. And yet, the same riders often did not see union drivers as allies in the fight to save their service, lower their fares, and improve the system as a whole.
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Posted by carldavidson on October 10, 2013
Moving buses from the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh raises concerns
By Jon Schmitz
Beaver County Blue via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Oct 9, 2013 – A group that advocates for public transit riders has raised questions about a proposal to remove buses from the center of Downtown Pittsburgh, saying it puts the interests of a few businesses ahead of "the greater good of the entire community."
The group, Pittsburghers for Public Transit, also is demanding public involvement in any plan to reroute buses, community organizer Helen Gerhardt said Tuesday. "We’re going to make sure that we are very vocal and very involved every step of the way," she said.
The group is concerned about a proposal embraced by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and the likely next mayor of Pittsburgh, city Councilman Bill Peduto, to create a bus-free zone in the center of the Golden Triangle. Bus routes would be moved out toward the fringes of Downtown.
Mr. Peduto said he envisions a circular route pattern using wider streets toward the edges of Downtown rather than having buses coming from four different directions and turning around in the middle of town.
Mr. Fitzgerald reiterated Tuesday that planning for such a change is in its very early stages.
"There are some discussions about how to put a plan together but there is no plan," he said. "There will be public participation, absolutely. I think people are getting the wrong idea that this is going to happen imminently and they’ll have no input."
Pittsburghers for Public Transit, which says it has nearly 6,000 supporters who have signed up for email and phone alerts about transit issues, said in an email that "precedence should not be given to the few businesses that have called for removal of bus stops in front of their establishments, when the greater good of the entire community should be our first public priority."
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Posted in Community, mass transit, Pittsburgh | Leave a Comment »