PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It is not something you hear very often in Pittsburgh, but Cleveland has something out city could use.
It is known as Bus Rapid Transit, and it connects the medical and educational communities of Cleveland to their downtown. It is something Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald wants to see implemented here in Pittsburgh.
“They take a lane that can only be used for buses, and what it does… it does two things – it’s predictable, meaning you know every five or six minutes that bus is going to come, and secondly, it gets you there quickly,” said Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald says that since Cleveland’s BRT was put in several years ago, billions of private dollars have been invested along the corridor of the bus route.
Fitzgerald is taking a team of government, business and agency leaders to Cleveland next week to get a closer look.
But, on this week’s KD-PG Sunday Edition, Fitzgerald also defended the Port Authority of Allegheny County saying it is doing a better job now than it was.
He also takes issue with legislation pending in Harrisburg that would take the power of appointing the members of the transit board out of his hands and into mainly the hands of the legislature.
“It would be bad for the Port Authority; it would be bad for this region,” Fitzgerald said. “You have to have control locally; you can’t have a Port Authority by committee because what’ll happen is, you won’t have accountability.”
Meanwhile, when it comes to Pittsburgh International, Fitzgerald is concerned about ramifications from the merger of US Airways and American Airlines.
“What they’re telling us is on the merger Pittsburgh won’t be affected negatively when it comes to flights nor will gain flights, so it’ll be kind of a neutral when it comes to flights,” Fitzgerald said. “My bigger concern is the operations center, the maintenance center. That I am concerned about.”
Also, the county executive says US Airways already has plans to add another 200 flights in and out of Philadelphia.
KDKA’s Stacy Smith: “Why would they want to be so congested in Philadelphia as opposed to being able to use another airport?”
Fitzgerald: “Because what they basically say is it’s a population center type of thing. We talked to a lot of airlines, not just US Airways, the first thing they say is, get another million people and then we’ll think about putting a hub there. We can do a lot of things as government officials, but that’s not what we can… we can’t just snap our fingers and just grow a million people.”