Laurels & lances: Bills, budgets and buses
Laurel: To honoring the memory of those lost with real action. State Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, and Ed Gainey, D-Lincoln-Lemington, and state Sens. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, and Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, marked their remembrance of the Tree of Life shooting with a package of four bills.
The legislators are to be commended not just for doing something but for doing something that engages across the spectrum of stakeholders and stretches across the aisle to enhance and update PA hate crimes laws in memory of the victims of the Tree of Life shooting.
Now it’s time for lawmakers to get down to business and consider the four bills introduced Wednesday.
Lance: To out-of-date numbers. When voting on a massive sewer project, you want to know how much it’s going to cost to make sure that people can afford it and are properly prepared to pay for it. Freeport Borough Council fell down on that with its April 2017 vote for a project estimated to cost $11.6 million.
But that estimate was wrong. Well, not wrong. It was no doubt perfectly fine when it was originally done. In 2011.
There is no excuse for a government body acting on numbers five years out of date when committing a community of just 800 customers to a project that has since proved to balloon by 36% to a total of $15.8 million.
Laurel: To the best laugh in ages. It might have taken almost a whole day to pull that Allegheny County Port Authority bus out of the hole that opened up underneath it Downtown, but the jokes, pictures and social media memes it spawned was worth the tied-up traffic. Well played, Pittsburgh. Well played.
Lance: To another kind of bus problem. There’s really nothing funny about the lack of functionality with the Westmoreland County Transit Authority, which has been plagued by fare hikes, declining ridership and shrinking routes. Now the authority is taking back control from its third-party operator and running it itself.
It’s about time. And the agency will have no one else to blame if the problems persist.