Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
On the “Watch List”: The Steelers-SEA dispute. The football team says its Heinz Field lease with the Sports & Exhibition Authority calls for the SEA to pick up two-thirds of the cost of its proposed $38 million expansion that includes 3,000 seats and a second large scoreboard. It's planning to sue the authority to enforce the provision. The SEA's share (to service a bond issue) would come from a surcharge on Steelers tickets and parking used by game-day fans but also work-week taxpayers. One scenario has taxpayers, through the Regional Asset District, guaranteeing the bonds.
First point: Those outraged with the Steelers' position should visit the public official who negotiated the lease with a can of hot tar and a bag of goose feathers.
Second point: Taxpayers put up more than half of the original construction bill for Heinz Field — nearly $160 million of the nearly $281 million price tag (and still paying for the “privilege”) — and have no business guaranteeing more debt.
Laurel: To preparedness. The immediate region escaped the fury of Hurricane Sandy. Still, local officials deserve a great deal of credit for the long weekend of work they put in before the storm hit, making plans for every possible scenario. Had the area been more affected, it would have been ready.
Laurel: To the Hazelwood Initiative. The neighborhood group is asking Pittsburgh officials to double the size of the Hazelwood Greenway to 120 acres. It's a capital idea for a tract of land whose steep contours make it otherwise pretty much unusable. And it's the kind of project that would make a wonderful public-private partnership.