SPC is hosting a virtual Small Business Discussion and Forum on March 16th 2021 at 1:00pm. We want to hear from Southwestern PA businesses.

Soon we will mark one year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here at Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC), we wanted to take this opportunity to hear from our region’s small business owners and find out where your business stands, one year after COVID. We and other regional entities want to hear your feedback on current needs and expected future needs.

This event and your feedback will help SPC determine the types of business assistance programs needed moving forward.

Please visit https://spcsmallbusiness2021.eventbrite.com/ and Register.

We hope to see you on March 16, 2021 at 1:00pm.

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The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC), in partnership with regional partner, today announced the completion of the Route 28 Corridor Study, outlining forty multimodal improvements between Kittanning and Interstate 80 (I-80). 

SPC, in partnership with the Northwest Pennsylvania Commission; North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission; Armstrong, Clarion and Jefferson Counties; the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Engineering District 10-0 and its consultant team, recently concluded the study of the approximately 40-mile corridor with the release of the study’s Final Report. The report is now available for public download on the study’s website: www.route28corridorstudy.com

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Amtrak’s proposal to add another Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg daily round-trip train in about three years is good news to Sharon Calloway of Uniontown, a frequent traveler on the Pennsylvanian train from Greensburg to New York City, where she works.

“It would be nice to have more than one option,” said Calloway, who often travels back home to Uniontown, where she still maintains her residence.

“If you don’t get this train, you don’t get to New York,” said Calloway, as she waited one recent morning to board the Pennsylvanian at 8 a.m. in Greensburg.

The proposal for another daily round-trip train between Pittsburgh and New York City is projected for the fiscal year from October 2023 through September 2024, in the Pennsylvania State Rail Plan 2020. That plan was developed by PennDOT from fall 2019 through fall 2020 with input from state and local officials, freight carriers, commuter rail providers, Amtrak and rail passenger organizations.

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The Southwestern Pennsylvania Corporation, a 501(c)(3) corporation, on behalf of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC), is requesting Technical Proposals and Price Proposals (together, the Proposal package) for the preparation of a Brodhead Road Corridor Planning Study in Beaver County. The selected firm or team of firms will assist SPC with completing a study with recommendations that will improve safety and mobility for all travel modes along the corridor.

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The grant is a U.S. Department of Transportation Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) transportation grant. It covers the second phase of the $63 million Route 228 corridor project.

This portion of the project stretches from Route 3020 Haine School Road to the Beaver County line. Gateway 228 also includes the realignment of Balls Bend in Middlesex Township.

The improvements to the stretch of road will allow for better traffic capacity, safety and accessibility.

“Strategically, it’s a great project,” Gordon said.

Gordon said about $17 million has been raised locally for Gateway 228, an amount he referred to as “unheard of” at a local level.

Gr

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission has awarded nearly $9 million in grants that will serve as the final piece of funding for 16 transportation projects worth more than $110 million across the 10-county region.

Some of the money is for planning or feasibility studies, but the bulk of it will allow projects to begin construction, the commission said.

The grants were awarded in two categories: $5.8 million for 10 projects under the Livability through Smart Transportation Program, and $3.186 million for six projects through the Transportation Alternatives Program. The Livability program is designed to link transportation projects with other development work while the Alternatives program encourages bike and pedestrian lanes, trail expansion, and access to public transit.

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For more than 20 years with the Federal Transit Administration, Vincent Valdes worked with local communities across the country, overseeing their transportation projects from afar but only getting what he called “visceral satisfaction.”

Now, as the new executive director of the 10-county Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Mr. Valdes said he looks forward to seizing the opportunity “to come here and bake the cake myself.”

“I wanted to be able to see the fruits of my work,” Mr. Valdes, 61, said in an interview Friday. “Why not actually come out and do it myself?”

Mr. Valdes was selected in April as the replacement for Jim Hassinger and began his new job on June 15. Mr. Hassinger retired after 19 years as executive director.

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Most of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been negative: high unemployment, business closures, transportation agencies reeling from revenue losses due to low traffic.

But a seven-page study released Thursday claims there’s one area where Americans have benefited dramatically: Working from home instead of driving to work has saved more than $90 billion in time and actual costs since the pandemic began in March.

Upwork — a Mountain View, Calif., agency that specializes in matching freelance professionals with temporary jobs — concluded that working remotely has become so popular during the pandemic that many people won’t return to driving and the national economy will go through a major shift in the next couple of years. Adam Ozimek, the agency’s chief economist, said he expects Americans to spend the money saved on commuting in other areas such as eating out more often, home improvements or more lavish vacations.

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