Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania/Stage II LRT Reconstruction
Stage II LRT Reconstruction
The Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC) has undertaken reconstruction of the 25-mile Pittsburgh rail system to modern light rail standards. The Stage I Light Rail Transit (LRT) project resulted in the reconstruction of a 13-mile system to light rail standards during the 1980s. The Stage II LRT project proposes reconstruction and double-tracking of the remaining 12 miles of the system consisting of the Overbrook, Library, and Drake trolley lines. The Stage II LRT project would reconstruct these three lines to modern LRT standards, double track the single track segments, reopen the closed Overbrook and Drake Lines, add approximately 2,400 park and ride lots, and purchase 28 new light rail vehicles.
In 1999, PAAC reconfigured its rail improvement program to prioritize program needs against available funding. The modified New Starts project, the Stage II LRT Priority Program, would reconstruct the Overbrook Line and a portion of the Library Line, and add the 2,400 park-and-ride spaces and 28 vehicles. The remainder of the Stage II LRT program would be built as funds become available. The estimated cost of the Priority Program is $386.4 million (escalated dollars).
FTA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for the project in February 1996. The project is included in the financially constrained long-range transportation plan adopted by the Southwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning Commission, the Pittsburgh area Metropolitan Planning Organization. A Letter of No Prejudice was approved in January 2000 for $130.1 million to allow construction and vehicle procurement to proceed. A Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) between FTA and PAAC was executed in January 2001. The FFGA provides a commitment of $100.2 million in Section 5309 New Starts funds to the Stage II LRT Reconstruction project. Final Design is substantially complete and all major construction contracts, including the vehicle contract, have been awarded. Per the FFGA, the Revenue Operation Date for the project is June 2004.
TEA-21 Section 3030(a)(98) authorizes the “Pittsburgh – Stage II Light Rail” for final design and construction. Through FY 2001, Congress has appropriated $23.71 million in Section 5309 New Starts funds to the project.