Peduto lays out vision for Pittsburgh's future in inauguration speech
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto laid out grand plans during his inauguration speech Wednesday for what he said the city will accomplish by 2030 through a $1.5 billion partnership between government and the city's nonprofits and corporations.
“We are at the beginnings of potentially the best times of this city,” Peduto told hundreds of people at Oakland's Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum after being sworn in for a second, four-year term by state Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd.
Peduto, 53, of Point Breeze said his sweeping vision for the city includes implementing universal pre-kindergarten, eradicating homelessness, ending hunger, guaranteeing that every child in the city lives within a 10-minute walk of a park or playground and eliminating vehicle crashes due to poorly designed streets.
He pledged to create the nation's largest per-capita trust fund for affordable housing and said the city would use 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, recycle or produce energy from all waste, get rid of lead pipes and establish a new water system while keeping water and sewer assets public.
He also talked about modeling an urban wealth fund after programs in Europe and Asia, and said the city has been working with Harvard Business School, local consulting firm Fourth Economy and other organizations to craft a plan for the future.
Peduto didn't name specific corporations or organizations that would help fund or implement the plan.
Since taking office in 2014, Peduto has sought funding from tax-exempt nonprofits, including the so-called “Big Four” — UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Highmark. He has yet to reach an agreement but said he has been meeting regularly with university and corporate leaders over several months.
Peduto's two-hour inauguration ceremony included performances by a marching band and church choir, videos, speeches and prayers.
A nonprofit called Build a New Pittsburgh paid for the event, according to Matt Merriman-Preston, a consultant for Peduto's campaign. He could not provide the total cost Wednesday.
Build a New Pittsburgh was created for the sole purpose of paying for the inauguration and relies on donations from political supporters, Merriman-Preston said. No city funds were used.
One of the speakers, Gov. Tom Wolf, credited Peduto with making Pittsburgh a tech hub and praised him for launching programs that deliver summer and evening meals, swimming lessons and computer lessons for children. Wolf said he expects the city to leave state financial oversight under state Act 47 in a few weeks. The city has been under the program's oversight for more than 14 years.
“Pittsburgh's turnaround is an incredible story, and one that could not have happened without Bill Peduto,” Wolf said.
Administration officials in videos discussed ongoing efforts to reduce veteran homelessness, boost LGBT rights for city employees and promote youth jobs, senior programs, affordable housing and bicycling.
Other speakers focused on the administration's efforts to lift up poor and underprivileged residents.
“The legacy of our administration will be based on whether we can truly build a city for all Pittsburghers,” said Kevin Acklin, Peduto's outgoing chief of staff.
Peduto said the administration plans to track its progress through a partnership with the Rand Corporation.
After the inauguration, state Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, said it will take a strong leader to broker agreements among government, nonprofit and corporate entities.
“Bill has demonstrated he has the ability to bring people together,” Costa said.