Kudos to Sustainable Pittsburgh, the Port Authority of Allegheny County and the more than 40 community stakeholders whose work on a Downtown-Oakland bus rapid transit system resulted in Pittsburgh's selection as one of four cities to receive Rockefeller Foundation funding ("City to Split $1.2M Grant for Bus Rapid Transit," April 11). It's exciting to see this project, which will serve the Port Authority's highest ridership corridor and link the second- and third-largest urban employment centers in the state, receive the recognition it deserves.
While BRT is not the equivalent of light rail, it can offer many of the advantages that light rail does but at a fraction of the cost and time to construct. Bus rapid transit provides a high-performance public transit system with fast, efficient service and typically includes high-capacity vehicles, dedicated lanes, elevated platforms and other special features.
As a board member of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, I am keenly aware of the important role public transportation plays in the success of our vibrant Downtown. PDP research over the past three years has consistently shown that 54 percent of the Downtown workforce commutes to work on public transportation. In fact, at least that many of my own employees rely on the Port Authority to get to our Downtown location. The development of a fast and efficient public transit link to the East End can only serve to benefit us all.
This new funding from the Rockefeller Foundation will allow all interested stakeholders to have the opportunity to learn more about this project. I wholeheartedly encourage skeptics as well as the already enthusiastic to educate themselves about this project, which I believe can transform our city.
DAVID A. CASE
President and CEO