State transportation bill leads to $5 million more for East Liberty Transit Center

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At a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning for the planned East Liberty Transit Center, Gov. Tom Corbett announced an additional $5 million for the project, describing it as an investment that will attract more people and businesses to the area.

“We’re making it possible for the private sector to create prosperity for individuals here in East Liberty, in the city, in the county and across this region,” Mr. Corbett said.

The additional funding comes from the $2.3 billion transportation funding plan Mr. Corbett signed into law in November.

Transit center gets $5 million in state funds

Gov. Tom Corbett was in town today to announce another $5 million in state funds for construction of the East Liberty Transit Center. (Video by Lake Fong; 4/1/2014)

Work is already underway on the development.

The project is expected to be completed in mid- to late 2016, although some parts, including the new transit station, should be finished later this year, according to Paul Svoboda, special projects manager for the city Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The project, managed by the URA with Mosites Co. as the developer, will reconstruct the East Liberty station on the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway and provide an additional pedestrian bridge, a storage area for bicycles and better lighting.

Also planned is residential and commercial space, as well as a parking garage with more than 500 spaces.

Officials, including U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, praised the project as a demonstration of public-private partnerships.

“It just shows, when we all work together, what we can accomplish,” Mr. Doyle said.

The extra boost from the state means that the nearly $140 million development is now fully funded, Mr. Svoboda said.

Tuesday’s announcement, along with an earlier $2.8 million in transportation infrastructure investment funds, means Pennsylvania has contributed a total of $21.3 million to the project.

Other funding comes from nearly 20 other sources, including a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, as well as private and local funds.

The East Liberty development is also benefiting from being the first Transit Revitalization Investment District in the state, a designation which is similar to tax increment financing but that is based on being near a transit center.

Maelene Myers, executive director of East Liberty Development Inc., said the community has been talking about a plan for neighborhood revitalization since the mid-1990s.

“It’s an amazing transformation,” she said.

Kaitlynn Rielly: or 412-263-1707. First Published April 1, 2014 11:28 AM

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