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The VND's Tuesday Takes

| Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Blessing in disguise: The consulting firm pushing for a light-rail commuter line between Lower Burrell and Pittsburgh says it's having trouble attracting a “sponsor agency” — one that would serve as a conduit for federal grants for the $414 million, 20-mile line. Federal grants and loans would account for 90 percent of the funding. Which more than suggests — as we've said repeatedly — that this project, if built, would not be sustainable. Lack of “sponsor” could save taxpayers millions.

Word to the wise: Consumers can now switch their home electric and gas suppliers, and there's no lack of companies willing to help someone do that. But there's also plenty of scam artists out there looking to rip off folks. Before switching, get as much information as possible from the potential new supplier, then contact the Pennsylvania Utility Commission at puc.state.pa.us or 1-800 692-7380.

Ah, progress: “Once upon a time, in a Pennsylvania far, far away ... .” That might be the way history records the introduction of the new 878 area code to Southwestern Pennsylvania. Unlike the introduction of the 724 area code on a geographical basis, the 878 code would be laid over the entire 412 and 724 code area. The days of discerning from what geographical region a call emanated will be a thing of the past. A small thing? Yes, but a sigh-producing passing, no less.

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