PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Imagine catching the “T” from Station Square and riding all the way to the North Shore Connector without paying a dime.

It could happen if the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership convinces local corporations to pick up the tab.

“We are going out and talking to corporate leaders about the opportunities to support the free high frequency T service,” Jeremy Waldrup, of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, said.

Waldrup says the benefits from free, reliable service for commuters, businesses and visitors would be enormous.

“We think that it will increase access to the amenities of downtown you can have dinner downtown, got to Heinz Field, watch a Pirates game all in one evening without moving your car,” he said. “You can park on the periphery of downtown which will decrease traffic congestion in the urban core.”

The free rides could cost the Port Authority about $1.6 million a year, but it all depends whether area corporations are willing to pay for sponsorships.

In return, they could put their name on facilities along the route like the new Gateway Station.

“As we’ve seen in other cities, sports teams, companies have really stepped up and they’ve seen an opportunity in terms of marketing and branding by attaching their name to a facility like this,” Jim Ritchie, a spokesman for the Port Authority, said.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership will be working feverishly over the next five months in hopes of making service on the “T” free from Station Square to the North Shore Connector.

The connector officially opens in March of 2012.

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