Monday, May 18, 2009

Steel Valley Regional News

The first open forum for the Greater Pittsburgh Regional Visioning Project is on Wednesday, May 20th at the Hazlett Theater on Pittsburgh’s North Side. (More information) I post this here because four of the five Steel Valley counties (Trumbull is left out) are included in this region. Youngstown, Morgantown, and Pittsburgh are all aboard the same economic boat.

A good example of why this matters to you concerns the geography of federal stimulus money. The PA side of the Steel Valley has been more "shovel ready" than the OH side. While that might seem to be bad news for Youngstown, it most certainly is not for the Steel Valley:

Rep. Jason Altmire has requested $19.2 million for improvements to the Freedom Road/Route 228 corridor stretching across Beaver and Butler counties, and $6 million to complete planning and design for commuter rail service from the Allegheny Valley to Downtown Pittsburgh. ...

... Mr. Altmire has said that improvements in the Freedom Road/Route 228 corridor and commuter rail from Arnold to Pittsburgh were his top transportation priorities.

He has asked for $12.7 million to upgrade the Crows Run corridor of Freedom Road from Route 65 to Route 989; $4 million for improvements to Route 228 at Interstate 79; and $2.5 million for Route 228 improvements from the Mars railroad bridge to the Mars-Valencia Road intersection.

"That is key to the ability to make that corridor work," he said. The Crows Run work "has been talked about for decades."

Here is a map of Mr. Altmire's district:

You can see that part of the Steel Valley lies within Mr. Altmire's jurisdiction. You should also know that Altmire is good friends with Congressman Tim Ryan, and both of them make up the duo behind the Tech Belt initiative. I like to think of Altmire as another representative of Youngstown economic interests.

Lastly, I want to bring your attention to the Project 360° campaign, which I read about in The Business Journal. You can read all about it here if you don't have a subscription. The Vindy published an article about the campaign back in October:

The campaign’s goal is to assist projects that create 1,600 new jobs and $1.3 billion in investment this year. The chamber runs the economic development programs for Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

That's a big deal not just for Mahoning and Trumbull counties, but the entire Greater Pittsburgh Region.

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