Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wednesday: Last-Minute Fares

Allegheny County officials face an uphill battle when they travel to Amsterdam this week to convince Northwest and KLM Royal Dutch airlines to offer direct flights between Southwestern Pennsylvania and Europe.

Pittsburgh was on the short list of airports the two airlines were eyeing for nonstop service to Amsterdam, the Regional Air Service Partnership, a group lobbying for international service, said last month. (Trib, Justin Vellucci)

As the Comet has been saying all week, this is a hugely important business venture for the future of our region. It requires nothing less than the full personal attentions of both our mayor and county executive. They should stay in Amsterdam until the mission is complete.


"When you make a 15 percent cut and you only lose 3.5 percent of your riders, that's not too bad -- although any rider loss is not good," said authority spokeswoman Judi McNeil. Authority officials hope to know late next month whether the Jan. 1 fare hike will lead to further erosion in its client base, she said. (Trib, Jim Ritchie)

Would it be fair to assert that Port Authority public transportation, not great five years ago, has only gotten worse?


City school board member Mark Brentley Sr., who represents the Hill and supports neighborhood demands, said he wants to postpone a vote set for tonight's board meeting on a Penguins' plan to have team officials and staff talk with students about career choices.

"My concern is the timing," Mr. Brentley said yesterday. He said he didn't want to create the impression "that we're aiding one party or another party" in the contentious talks. (P-G, Rich Lord)

Mark Brentley for City Council. Mark Brentley for Mayor. Mark Brentley for State Senate.

The move comes as negotiations toward a community benefits agreement, or CBA, appear to have slowed. The One Hill Community Benefits Coalition wants development funding, first dibs on jobs for Hill residents, a grocery store and community center, more park space and input into a neighborhoodwide plan as conditions for building the arena there.

"Slowed" may be an understatement. Things may not have moved any further than the original proposal handed down by Ravenstahl and Onorato, with the exception of the specified grocery store. We have heard nothing else about the use of seed money, for example, or any other form of economic stimulus.

The article fails to mention the other Hill District group, the newly named Hill Faith & Justice Alliance.

One Hill didn't strenuously oppose a Jan. 14 city planning commission vote on the arena master plan, which passed 5-3. The coalition, though, will "oppose all arena construction activity until we have an agreement," said Mr. Redwood.

Comet readers are encouraged to take a serious second look at the Hill Faith & Justice Alliance.

"I see [an agreement] happening," said Councilwoman Tonya Payne, who represents the Hill. "There's no turning back."

Our spider-senses are tingling.

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