According to Associated Press reports, a $36.6 billion plan set up by the Pennsylvania Transportation Department appears to have no available funds for a Pittsburgh beltway. In addition, a 25-year plan put together by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, an agency that suggests road projects to the federal government, seems to be blowing off the idea as well.
Allegheny River valley lawmakers have been pushing for a beltway since 1998, but are having trouble convincing city and state officials, who are choosing to dole out $195 million for a transit system, boasting an underwater tunnel, which will run from downtown Pittsburgh to the Allegheny River. Other money is being set aside for bridge, tunnel and exit repairs on I-279 and I-376.
Transportation officials say a new beltway would sacrifice all the other improvements.
However, Sen. Jack Wagner said he won’t give up on the Pittsburgh beltway.
"The Pittsburgh region, without a doubt, has suffered because it does not have a beltway," Wagner told the AP. "It has kept us from being able to move people and products through the region efficiently."
Rep. Tim Pesci told the AP that the beltway could use some existing roads, including Pennsylvania Route 60 and Interstate 70, and that it could be finished with only 45 miles of new roadway.