A groundbreaking ceremony in East Liberty Tuesday brought together federal, state and local elected officials, from both parties, to tout continued investment in the area.
Gov. Tom Corbett announced an additional $5 million investment in the next phase of improvements to the East Liberty transit station; the funding comes from the transportation bill passed last year.
“Targeting our transportation dollars as investments – not just for today, but for the long term, to attract more people, to attract more businesses,” said Corbett, “to attract businesses from around the country and around the world to come to Pennsylvania.”
This round of funding will go toward a public space at the junction between the Martin Luther King Busway and surface transit routes. The project includes reconstruction of the busway station, new pedestrian bridges and improved access, storage areas for bicycles, new lighting and other amenities.
“We’re securing a way of life for thousands of Pennsylvanians who are completely dependent upon mass transportation,” Corbett said. “This project is a key step in a $137 million economic development plan for this area alone.”
An additional $2.8 million in transportation infrastructure investment funds are also being made available to the East Liberty project. That brings the state’s investment in the area to $21.3 million for the $62.7 million project. The busway project is being managed by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh and additional funding has been secured through a mix of public/private partnerships.
“It’s through all those partnerships that we’ve been able to generate over 1,500 jobs through this investment, more than 700 residential units coming on market and millions of dollars in annual taxes and just a great new neighborhood,” said URA Executive Director Robert Rubinstein.
Developer and co-sponsor of the project, Mosites Company, said the investment in East Liberty will have a ripple effect.
“We’re now pursuing development opportunities in Larimer, there are development opportunities in Garfield, in Highland Park, it’s spreading out.” said Principal of Mosites Co., Steve Mosites, “This support is leveraging further development throughout the neighborhood.”
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was on hand for the groundbreaking, along with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Congressman Mike Doyle.
“This project is about more than East Liberty,” Peduto said. “It creates another ladder of opportunity to rebuild neighborhoods next door.
The East Liberty transit station is at the connection of East Liberty and Shadyside; it’s at the center of the East Liberty Transit Revitalization District (TRID), the first such district in the state. The center’s funding was started by a $15 million federal grant in 2012.