Institute of Politics
Col. Bernard Lindstrom Rep. Paul Costa


Infrastructure Status and Needs in Southwestern Pennsylvania 2014

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Letter from the Infrastructure Policy Committee Co-Chairs

Dear Colleagues,

In Fall 2012, the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics released an update on the infrastructure status and needs of Southwestern Pennsylvania. This update built upon the 2009 primer covering the same topic. In similar fashion, this current publication builds upon these documents and contains the latest in infrastructure development and needs as our region grows and develops.

Infrastructure holds a critically important position in our region, whether economically, developmentally, or throughout our lives on a daily basis. As we advance and develop, its importance only grows. It is this growth in importance that leads to concerns within the field of infrastructure. One such concern stems from continued funding challenges, as infrastructure projects within our region become both more numerous and more costly. Additional concerns, as discussed in the last update, are derived from the increased Marcellus Shale development. This development has created continued concerns over water treatment, road maintenance, and so on.

However, the challenge of developing infrastructure that is able to compete both technologically and environmentally in the 21st century is one of unparalleled importance. In our last primer update, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) initiatives within the infrastructure field were discussed as a way for our region to increase its technological capacity and development. We believe that these ITS systems have the potential to allow our infrastructure to operate smarter and more efficiently, all while using less energy and reducing both congestion and the possibility of accidents. In this publication, we further explore current ITS infrastructure initiatives being undertaken locally, and the positive effects they are creating and will continue to create.

As time progresses, and as a variety of new and improved technologies become available, the growth of infrastructure will only increase. However, this growth cannot continue to expand without having harmful consequences for our most prized natural resources. As this development increases, the need for more efficient and sustainable growth must be pursued, in order to benefit ourselves, those around us, and the invaluable natural resources all around us. Therefore, green infrastructure development has emerged on the forefront of considerations within the field. 

This newly stressed importance on green infrastructure development has encouraged us as a committee to investigate current and proposed initiatives within the region that stress efficiency, environmental considerations, and so on. Within this publication, we have included a variety of currently implemented green infrastructure initiatives. The immense importance being placed on green infrastructure has also prompted the committee to develop a green infrastructure status report, which is expected to be released later this year.  

Although our region has implemented a variety of green infrastructure initiatives to date, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Mayor Bill Peduto has plans to confer with a mixture of leaders in green design and technology at the Urban Futures Forum in April 2015 to develop a plan for Pittsburgh’s continuing emergence as a post-industrial leader known for its waterfront potential and its commitment to sustainability. In addition, a wide variety of federal agencies and organizations have begun to make green infrastructure one of their top priorities, as growth and development continues. These examples, given their broad reach, strengthen the importance of green infrastructure as a leading consideration within the infrastructure industry.

Lastly, this latest update signals a switch that the IOP is making regarding future updates of the Infrastructure Primer. Because the field of infrastructure is ever-changing, with updates occurring daily in each infrastructure sector that the Primer covers, the IOP staff has decided to make the Primer a living document, which will be housed on the IOP’s website. The goal is to continually update the Primer as new information or changes become available. To this end, we will be relying on our partners and our readers to help us in this updating process. If you feel that there is information that should be included in the Primer, please do not hesitate to provide us with your feedback. You may submit comments to the Institute of Politics at 412-383-4517 or  We hope that you will find this document to be useful. Thank you for your continued interest in the growth, development, and future of Southwestern Pennsylvania.    


Rep. Paul Costa, Member, PA House of Representatives

Col. Bernard Lindstrom, Commander, Pittsburgh District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Charleroi Lock Bridge Traffic

2014 Primer Table of Contents

Links to previous versions of the primer:

Infrastructure primer 2012

Infrastructure primer 2011

Infrastructure primer 2010

Infrastructure primer 2009


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Air Transportation


Flood Control and Dam Safety

Natural Gas

Navigable Waterways

Public Transit


Roads and Bridges


Water and Sewage

Marcellus Shale