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East Liberty transit center receives $15M federal grant

| Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 3:35 p.m.
aerial photo for ptr-busway-062012

Pittsburgh has received a $15 million federal grant to develop a new transit center in East Liberty that local officials hope will spur almost $300 million in commercial and residential development.

“This project will create jobs in the short-term and over the long run help solidify Pittsburgh as a destination for major employers,” said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, in announcing the grant.

The transit center will be located near the intersection of Shady and Penn avenues, about 150 feet east of the Port Authority of Allegheny County's East Busway bus station — the busiest in the transit agency's system.

The new platforms, along with a sloped walkway from Penn Avenue, will be covered. A new pedestrian bridge also will be built over the busway near Ellsworth Avenue.

The project is expected to cost $34 million.

The city will provide about $10 million and the state will supply $9 million. The city could not say when work might begin.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said the center will better connect the busway with the streets above, as well as to some $440 million in new development either completed or in the works, including a Target store, Whole Foods Market and other retail shops and restaurants.

“This project will keep the momentum going,” said Nate Cunningham, director of real estate development for the nonprofit East Liberty Development Inc.

A study completed by the city last year said the transit center could become the centerpiece of another $285 million in development, including a proposed hotel, theater, office and commercial space, and single- and multi-family residential units.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at (412) 320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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