Public investment in infrastructure (roads, sewers, water supply, etc.) is a principal determinant of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s destiny to be a sustainably developed metropolitan area. On a national scale, progress is being made in integrating major transportation projects to promote both access and livable communities. Indeed landmark federal transportation legislation (ISTEA) requires that major infrastructure investments be linked to the economy, environment, land-use, human well-being, and fairness. Nevertheless, no agency in the Commonwealth is mandated to coordinate, much less prioritize, the land use, economic development and transportation linkages in our region. As such, as exemplified in the Mon-Fayette Expressway proposal, while much of the country is moving forward on new approaches to urban transportation solutions, this region is considering old approaches to new circumstances.
Following the principles of sustainable development, this assessment reviewed transportation, economic, community, environmental, and social advantages and disadvantages. We also reviewed the processes used to develop the toll road proposal. Our work is based on careful review of publicly available materials including those featured in two in-depth briefing sessions with representatives of the Turnpike Commission and their consultants. We also drew input from the public panel discussion sponsored by SP on January 16, 2002. Thus, this SA reflects the sentiments of a wide range of studied viewpoints and raises issues to which the public should find answers in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to be released by the PTC in May 2002 and reviewed and revised during the following months.