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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis April 6, 2012
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Port Authority Opens North Shore Connector

The Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh celebrated the opening of its newest light rail extension—the North Shore Connector—in ceremonies March 23. The connector opened for regular service two days later.

More than 500 guests attended the opening-day events, which included an opportunity to take the “first ride.” Speakers gave presentations at all three new stations on the line: Gateway, near Gateway Center in downtown; North Side Station, near PNC Park on the North Shore; and Allegheny Station, between Rivers Casino and Heinz Field on the North Shore.

Port Authority Chief Executive Officer Steve Bland called the launch of the North Shore Connector “a very exciting moment in this region’s history and an example of what we can achieve when we collectively set our sights on a goal.”The 1.2-mile light rail extension connects downtown Pittsburgh to the North Shore neighborhood across the Allegheny River. The $517 million project was funded 80 percent by the Federal Transit Administration, 16-2/3 percent by Pennsylvania DOT, and 3-1/3 percent by Allegheny County.

Some speakers spoke at stations where their organizations have entered into funding agreements that provide free fares to the North Shore. For example, Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II and Rivers Casino General Manager Craig Clark spoke at Allegheny Station; their organizations have entered into a three-year agreement that essentially extends the Port Authority’s free Downtown Zone to that station on the North Shore. Similarly, a deal with the Pittsburgh Stadium Authority and Alco Parking extends the free zone to North Side Station, where Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl spoke.

Numerous organizations from Pittsburgh’s North Side participated in the event by showcasing destinations now connected via light rail through this project. The North Shore Connector serves an area of the city’s North Side that has been a development hot spot during the past decade, housing such destinations as the National Aviary, Carnegie Science Center, Andy Warhol Museum, and Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

Other speakers included Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA); Dr. Alex Johnson, president, Community College of Allegheny County; Eric Shiner, director, Andy Warhol Museum; Allegheny County Councilwoman (and Port Authority Board Member) Amanda Green Hawkins; Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; and Port Authority Chairman Jack Brooks. Also in attendance were former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff, Pittsburgh Council President Darlene Harris, and former Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Al Biehler.


Hundreds of invited guests showed for the opening of the North Shore Connector, including these crowds entering the new Gateway Station in downtown Pittsburgh and standing on the entry stairs. 

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