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Pittsburgh-Area Officials Hope Biden Infrastructure Bill Will Fund A Number Of Projects In Region

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Now that President Joe Biden's bipartisan infrastructure bill is law, local officials say millions of dollars should get pumped into this region over the next five years.

An 11-page document KDKA's Jon Delano obtained from PennDOT lists dozens of projects that local officials across the state call project priorities. Many of them are ready to go once the state gets the $18 billion expected from the bill.

"This is the biggest investment the federal government put in roads, bridges, transit in over half a century," Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.

KDKA's Jon Delano asked Fitzgerald to itemize some of the projects on this wish list.

"Things like extending the East Busway, that now ends in Rankin, on out to Braddock and East Pittsburgh and hopefully to Monroeville. Things like widening Bates Street, which has been a bottleneck for years, and the on-ramp and off-ramp at 376 at the bottom of Bates Street."

Other projects include the McKees Rocks Bridge, Margaret Road in Armstrong County, a U.S. Route 119 upgrade in Fayette County, the Laurel Valley transportation improvement project in Westmoreland County, and a massive undertaking to replace the bridges on the Parkway East on the east side of the Squirrell Hill tunnel.

Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce President Matt Smith said besides those dollars that come from the feds to state agencies like PennDOT for local projects, there is another $100 billion up for grabs in a competitive bidding process.

"We want to make sure we speak as one region with one voice and that we're aligned around certain needs for this region because we think that's the best way to compete for these dollars," Smith said.

Smith said the region is well-positioned to bid for federal dollars for autonomous vehicle manufacturing, for lock and dam upgrades on our waterways and for local battery manufacturing to wean us off fossil fuels.

Although some Republicans supported this bipartisan bill, Senator Pat Toomey and local Republicans like Mike Kelly and Guy Reschenthaler did not.

"It'll be interesting to see at these ribbon cuttings how many of those folks who voted against the bill will be standing there trying to take credit for it," Fitzgerald said.

As for when these projects may get underway, local leaders think perhaps as early as next spring or summer.

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