PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Addressing Congress, President Trump repeated a frequent campaign theme.
“We’ve spent trillions and trillions overseas, while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled,” he said.
It’s a line that resonates across political parties, especially in this region.
“Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across a very, very beautiful land,” noted the president.
Asking Congress for a trillion dollars, the president declared, “The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding.”
Tom Donatelli was Allegheny County Public Works director for more than a decade and says we’ve fallen behind.
“I just think it’s got away from us,” Donatelli told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday. “We built so much in this country, and I think we changed our focus to other areas.”
Donatelli has a long list of local projects for federal infrastructure dollars, starting with transportation.
“The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Oakland to Downtown is a paramount project for the region,” he says.
But it’s hardly alone.
Right now, the last stop of the T on the North Shore is between Heinz Field and the Rivers Casino. But can you imagine with infrastructure dollars extending the T through the North Hills all the way out to Cranberry and even a spur line out to the airport?
“It’s one of the things that holds Pittsburgh back from becoming a first-class city,” says Donatelli.
Besides upgrading roads and bridges, Donatelli says water and sewer lines are critical, and federal dollars to repair those could reduce the local tax burden on homeowners.
And maybe the biggest benefit — jobs.
“It would be a tremendous asset to the region, tremendous growth we’d be looking at,” he adds.