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Money for litter pickup?

| Friday, April 18, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

PennDOT will be embarking on more than $500 million in road and bridge projects. I wonder if even a small fraction of that money could be devoted to maybe, you know, periodically cleaning up the litter that lines PennDOT-maintained roads. Not only is this an eyesore, but does anyone think all this trash enhances outsiders' impressions of Pittsburgh?

Obviously, some of this litter is intentional, and shame on those who do this. Much of the rest is debris from wind-blown recyclables (and no, the litter hasn't just accumulated since the cold weather hit). I figure there are four potential reasons why PennDOT leaves litter along the roads:

• Minimum-wage temporary employees or low-risk prisoners can't be utilized to pick up litter, since this would be perceived as a job threat by higher-paid PennDOT workers. Therefore, the litter must stay.

• PennDOT can't overspend for litter pickup because it already overspends for everything else.

• The litter is used on-site by PennDOT to fill potholes.

• Barry Schoch, secretary of Transportation, has decreed that the PennDOT flag (a plastic grocery bag caught up in a tree branch) must be displayed along all roadways in the commonwealth.

Jack Ishnetti


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