Thursday, March 10, 2011

The North Shore Connector and The Mon-Fayette/SOuthern Beltway (MFSoB) Turnpike project (Dec. 13, 2006)

[Prefatory note (from 2011): Re-reading this, I'm amazed how much I'm saying now I said four years ago. Precious little has changed.]

Current mood: bitchy

[Prefatory note (from 2006): This is a copy of correspondence I sent to PA Governor Ed Rendell, my congressman, and state senator and representative, concerning the North Shore Connector, in response to a KQV 1410 news radio editorial that is highly critical of the project.]


KQV Radio has thundered out loudly and often against the North Shore Connector. Well, they're wrong.

Yes, this project is useful.
Yes, this project is wanted.
No, this project will not mess up Downtown traffic.
No, this project is not horrifically overbudget, no more so than any other multi-year construction project.
Yes, this project WILL benefit more than just the two stadiums.

What's going on is that KQV is controlled by people who hate public transit.

Meanwhile, KQV has never said a bad word about the Mon-Fayette/Southern Beltway (MFSoB) project (yes, that's its official name, though for some reason they don't use that acronym), and never mention its cost. The MFSoB's cost is ten times that of the North Shore Extension, four to five billion vs. roughly $400M.

So, in short, yes, go ahead and get the thing built, and please ignore the nay-sayers.

Thank you for your time and attention.


So far, the only reply I've received is from State Senator Jane Orie, who, although in general she's against the project, at least listens.

I can and should add more detail here about the need for the NSE, and even more about the MFSoB. Seems, though, that every major transit project gets strangled and dragged to death, while every road project gets rammed and jammed through, regardless.

We barely managed to get the West Busway funded, and only then because some major midwestern transit project fell through at the last moment, freeing up the last $50M or so needed to assure its completion. (In other words, we got Chicago's money.) Even at that, the Wabash Bridge never got built, nor did the separate right-of-way along the railroad tracks. Instead, at the last minute, they built the flyover by the Corliss Tunnel and sent the buses down West Carson Street.

The reason all that happened was because, at the very last minute (I'm not sounding repetitive because I want to but because I have to) bar owner Froggy Morris objected to the already-approved bridge and project and the ensuing furor delayed the whole thing a year or two, during which time the railroad decided they wanted to keep their tracks between Corliss and Smithfield Streets so the busway couldn't go in there. This stall-and-derail tactic also kiboshed Skybus back in 1972, though that was before my time. In that fiasco, Port Authority actually reconstructed the Wabash Tunnel, the project was so far along.

Oh enough already. I'm tired of regurgitating transit stories, I'm tired of KQV and the local right-wing politicians and bigwigs screwing up transit, and I have other things to do. Still, it had to be recorded by someone, somewhere ... and someone, somewhere, had to tell the current politicians that there really is support for this project (the North Shore Extension, that is).

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