Wednesday, February 24, 2010

County Seeks Downtown-Oakland Transit Line

Allegheny County officials today announced an effort to garner private capital for a transit link between Pittsburgh’s Oakland and Downtown districts.

County Economic Development & Redevelopment Authority Director Dennis Davin says in contrast to similar past endeavors, this project would entail a public-private partnership between a sponsor and state and local government.

Davin says this transit line, which could be anything from light-rail to a people-mover, would allow for expansion of institutions both in Downtown and in Oakland.

He says the county is asking for “expressions of interest” from private investors by the end of April.

“We’ve not been very specific in saying, ‘Look, we want this route developed,’ or, ‘We want this mode of transportation developed,’” says Davin.

“We’re trying to leave that open to the transportation [community]. These are the experts, so we want them to come back and say, ‘Here’s what we think makes sense. Here’s what we can fund. Here’s what works.”

Such a public-private partnership would require legislation from Harrisburg to be legal, so Davin says county government will work with state transportation committees to gain support for the project.

Davin says because of the private investment, it’s doubtful that the Port Authority would manage the line; however, he says they are taking part in the planning process.

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