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Port of Pittsburgh boss to retire in June

| Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 6:27 p.m.
James R. McCarville, the Port of Pittsburgh Commission's executive director, was honored at the White House on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, as one of 12 Transportation Champions of Change nationally.

The longtime leader of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission announced on Wednesday that he will retire in June and said whoever is hired to replace him must keep pressure on the federal government to fund upgrades to the region's aging river locks and dams.

“We need to continue to ensure the federal government maintains and operates and modernizes the lock and dam system,” said outgoing executive director Jim McCarville. “It's important to educate the public about the relationship between the economy, jobs and the waterways and how they're linked together.”

McCarville, 69, of Ross served 20 years as the agency's head, nearly its entire existence. He told the board in July that he plans to retire this year. He said June 28 will be his last day.

The Port of Pittsburgh Commission promotes the commercial use of the region's waterways and lobbies for funding to maintain the system. The agency serves as a link between public and private interests for the shipping channels.

McCarville's announcement comes the same week that new board chairwoman Susie Shipley is set to take the reins. Gov. Tom Corbett appointed Shipley to the 15-member board last month. Her first meeting is Friday. The board oversees the five-member staff.

The federal government also announced this month that the Lower Monongahela River project, which supporters say is critical to the region, got a $75 million increase in funding. The Army Corps of Engineers expected to finish the Lower Monongahela River project within 10 years when work began in 1994 on a project to remove the locks and dam in Elizabeth, replace a dam in Braddock and build locks in Charleroi. Funding shortfalls and delays postponed the projected completion date to at least 2025.

“Jim has done a great job for us,” said board member Peter Stephaich, president and CEO of Campbell Transportation. “(The port) supports tens of thousands of jobs in the region.”

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

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