The Port Authority's North Shore Connector is a "tragic mistake," Gov. Ed Rendell said Wednesday. (Trib, Mike Wereschagin)
I ... what?
"I wish the project had never started," Rendell said during an appearance at Community College of Allegheny County. "There's so many ways that money could've been applied to the transportation needs of this region in a more beneficial fashion. It's gone down the road now, and I guess you've got to finish it, but it's a tragic mistake."
I can't believe I'm reading this. It's like, "We selectively enforce the drink tax in Philadelphia" all over again.
Now would be a good opportunity to explore the history of the Connector, would it not? Can anybody answer exactly how it came to be? It was never a "popular" project. I know that Onorato likes to growl, "Roddey Railroad", but something tells me it was more complex than that.
Yesterday's 5-2 vote was one of the last remaining approvals needed to get the controversial project, a decade in the making, off the ground, or in this case, into it. Voting against the contract were directors James Dodaro and Joan Ellenbogen. (P-G, Mark Belko, 7/14/2006)
While Mr. Onorato wants to hold down the cost, he said he believes the project should go forward.
"It's use it or lose it," he said of the federal funding, "so we're going to move ahead, it appears, with the Port Authority's vote today. We've got to make sure, though, this becomes part of the overall linkage [to Oakland and the convention center]."
At a Pop City forum on mass transit last year, Port Authority director Steve Bland more or less explicitly guaranteed that there would be no further expansion of light rail (or any transit infrastructure) in the moderate or even forseeable future -- but I guess that was before the age of economic stimulus and infrastructure spending and President Santa Claus.
At any rate -- can we get that rehash? Some sources seem to trace it's genesis back to 1999. Could it have been nothing more than the bowdlerized, transmogrified consolation appendage of what was once an ambitious maglev proposal? The timing seems about right.