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Sustainable Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh, PA

Straight Talk: Tortured Water and Beltway Consequences

The Post-Gazette editorial board sure has it right with this statement in their August 30th editorial: “Nothing would arrest the city’s economic progress and newly hip image faster than the inability to provide fundamental water and sewer services. It has taken the city decades to shed its Rust Belt reputation, but even a short-lived water crisis would be sufficient to revive old stereotypes. Pittsburgh easily could become the next Flint, Mich., a national symbol of neglect and failure. Residents would flee. Capital would, too. It’s often said that a strong city anchors the region, so all of southwestern Pennsylvania would suffer from Pittsburgh’s backsliding.”

Apropos to the P-G’s sentiments is the seminal quotation, Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.”  How fitting these days, of water woes near and far.  Southwestern Pennsylvania is amazingly endowed with reliable water and such riches need to be cared for–using infrastructure of 21st century standards.  It’s imperative for the economic vitality and health of our region.

A robust economy with a high quality of life also depends on reasonable commutes from affordable homes and vibrant population centers around the region.  Another current events piece in the P-G highlights our region’s efforts to that end: How to build a highway: the massive Southern Beltway is taking shape.  Yet anyone who’s spent time in metro areas like D.C. and Atlanta can speak to the high “tax” associated with beltway-induced sprawl.  With this article being the start of a series on the topic, and given the pronouncements of our region’s need for a beltway (whereas others attribute the unique strength of the region’s core to lack of a beltway), here’s to expectations that the journalism will help our region avoid unintended consequences.