How Tom Corbett’s Dithering on Transportation Could Hurt the Pittsburgh Recovery

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The Pittsburgh economy has been a real bright spot in Pennsylvania during the otherwise-disappointing recovery. The city is adding jobs, the labor force is growing, and this is all leading developers to want to build more buildings downtown.

But as Chris Briem points out, the massive transit cuts coming down the pike could hurt the transportation network’s ability to serve these buildings:

Seriously though…  Between PNC’s continued construction, the new Oxford development that was sort-of announced last week and all the other development Downtown I still have a real question.  Given the scale of transit cuts coming, and lack of any new parking supply Downtown…  can Downtown Pittsburgh really support more daytime workers?  Even that debate is anachronistic since much of the debate in the 1940’s here was on the same topic and lead to not only the creation of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority but a lot of the public support of parking garages Downtown.  All part of the Pittsburgh möbius.

With a better transit system, downtown Pittsburgh would have no trouble absorbing a lot of new workers. The great thing about mass transit is that it takes up much less space than if all the passengers were solo-driving instead.

But with a transit system crippled by totally-avoidable budget cuts, more people have to drive, so you’ll have more congestion. Congestion wastes people’s time and hurts a region’s productivity.

By refusing to lead on transportation funding, Tom Corbett is needlessly stepping all over Pittsburgh’s recovery, and foolishly stunting developers’ and businesses’ ability to capitalize on the improving economy there. If he’d just deliver the funding, Pittsburgh could have a faster recovery, and this in turn would improve the state’s revenue collections.

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