Port Authority Public Hearing on Project Changes to Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway Extension

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The following are comments made by GASP President Marie Kocoshis on September 30, 1999 surrounding proposed project changes to the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway Extension.

GASP strongly supports the East Busway project in general as an effective mass transit alternative to single passenger vehicles. This project has the potential to remove many cars, trucks and SUV’s with their resulting emissions from our congested roads. It will relieve some of the congestion at the Squirrel Hill Tunnel, for example.

Our seven-county region is in non-compliance for ground-level ozone, sometimes known as urban smog. With our hot summer temperatures and the number of cars on our roads this summer, six exceedances of the one-hour ozone standard were recorded in Allegheny County alone. These exceedances mean that our area will not be redesignated in attainment and will remain in non-attainment for ozone. We do not yet know what kinds of controls US EPA will mandate, but we will definitely have to take serious control measures. Mass transit will undoubtedly be a big component in any strategy to reduce ground level ozone.

The health effects of ozone are well known. The elderly and the very young are most severely impacted. Repeated exposure over time can cause as much damage as a pack-a-day smoking habit. It is a powerful trigger for asthma and other respiratory diseases and is linked to increased hospital admissions, once again for the elderly and the very young in particular.

The many advantages of mass transit are overwhelming. We are opposed to one project change, that being the elimination of the Edgewood Stop. It is imperative that as many people as possible have access to mass transit and it is unfortunate that a community will not allow its residents to avail themselves of this convenient mass transit opportunity.