Allegheny County, followed by Indiana and Fayette counties, had the highest number of homes and businesses with internet connections in a 10-county region with connections so slow they didn’t even qualify as broadband, according to a new study by a Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission-led coalition of nonprofits.

At the same time, the study named Allegheny, Beaver and Armstrong as counties as places with remarkably fast online speeds as well.

Although Allegheny County had among the fastest internet speeds in the 10-county region, the study identified pockets of the county where internet access lagged — in municipalities along the Monongahela River, for example. Western Washington County, Greene County and much of Indiana County, traditionally Amish country, also lacked the fiber cables, towers and other gear necessary for speedy connections.

Read more »

The Southwestern Pennsylvania (SWPA) Connected initiative today announced the launch of the Connectivity Roadmap, a guidance tool, to support the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC), county leadership, and regional stakeholders in the 10-county region and the City of Pittsburgh to develop and prioritize connectivity projects and associated programs to secure funding.

The Connectivity Roadmap was developed in collaboration with representatives of the 10 counties, state and local governments, and industry experts, and through public engagement in the communities most impacted by the lack of reliable or affordable internet. Southwestern Pennsylvania is now positioned to secure federal and state broadband funding through the roadmap’s implementation guide and tools.

Read more »

CommuteInfo is hosting a “Commuter Challenge” to encourage people to try transit, vanpool, carpool, biking, walking and telework for their commuting trips during the week of May 16 – 22, 2022.

Overview of the CommuteInfo Commuter Challenge 2022

  • The CommuteInfo Commuter Challenge is a friendly competition for anyone 18 years old or older, who live, work or go to school in one of these 10 counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Fayette, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland.
  • The CommuteInfo Commuter Challenge will be held May 16-22, 2022.
  • Commuters can try transit, vanpooling, carpooling, biking or walking to their jobsite or school or telework.
Read more »

SPC is excited to announce our Regional Data Center web presence has received a complete overhaul and re-design!

Data-driven and casual users alike will now find a wealth of on-demand and fully customizable options to access a variety of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources for information focused on the Southwestern Pennsylvania Region.

Auto-generated PDF, excel, csv, and html file export options offer complete flexibility on how our users want their data delivered.

Read more »

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission has developed a corridor plan for Brodhead Road (State Route 3007/State Route 18) between Old Brodhead Road and the Allegheny County/Beaver County border. The corridor plan includes short, medium, and long term recommendations that will improve the transportation operations and safety for all users and serve as an investment plan that will guide the planning and programming of transportation projects in the study area.

The study makes recommendations that improve regional mobility and accessibility for all, enhance the quality of life and livability of the community, and advance economic and community development goals.

Read more »

Washington County has begun a three-year, $30 million project to expand internet access in the rural county, which is located about 35 miles south of Pittsburgh. The first baby steps in the project will bring service to about 50 homes in Avella, home to fewer than 1,000 people, and also to the nearby Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village. Meadowcroft, a National Historic Landmark operated by the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, was a campsite used 19,000 years ago by hunters and gatherers who left behind traces of ice age fire pits, stone and bone tools and pottery fragments.

Read more »

Author: Steve Meredith, Manager, Business Finance.

On several occasions throughout the year, I will have a promising opportunity come across my desk, only to fall apart because the timeline for my organization’s economic development loans does not fit with what the client needs. While I can certainly understand the need to be flexible and work with clients, their sellers, and other financial institutions, there are a few aspects of economic development lending that can delay closing on publicly funded loans. This results in a tricky “dance,” in which economic development lenders, their borrowers, sellers, and often private lending institutions must participate to ensure the best interest rates and terms for small business clients.

Read more »

Pennsylvania will pay $23.5 million to replace the collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge, officials at the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission announced Monday afternoon. Even as they welcomed the news, many noted that the process to fund needed infrastructure repairs has historically taken much longer, and shouldn’t.

“The state has really stepped up in helping out the region and financing the cost for the new bridge,” said Andy Waple, SPC’s director of transportation.

The SPC is a metropolitan planning organization, which helps to coordinate the use of federal, state, and local funds to improve transportation and economic development in the 10-county region. All of the money to replace the Fern Hollow Bridge is federal, and will not require a match from local sources; that means the region won’t have to pull funding from other key projects.

Read more »

A grant from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission will provide $450,492 in funding for a sidewalk and dedicated bike path along Saltsburg Avenue, White Township officials announced at a meeting Wednesday.

Communication specialist Chauncey Ross said the township will be responsible for $60,000 in engineering costs for design fees.

The grant will fund a project that will be developed this year, with ground likely being broken in 2023, Ross said.

Read more »

The U.S. Department of Transportation will announce a five-step program Thursday to reduce an unexpected spike in traffic deaths during the pandemic with a goal of eliminating them in the future.

The program, called the National Roadway Safety Strategy, marks a major shift in the department’s approach by recognizing that drivers make mistakes and will supplement educational efforts with safer roadway designs, vehicle technology improvements and better care for accident victims. Department officials briefed the news media Wednesday on the strategy that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is scheduled to announce in Washington, D.C., at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Mr. Buttigieg announced in October his department would spend the rest of the year developing a strategy to reduce traffic deaths after estimates through the second quarter of 2021 showed the highest percentage increase since the Fatality Analysis Reporting System began in 1975. An estimated 20,160 died in the first half of 2021, an 18.4% increase over the previous year, and the fatality rate increased to 1.34 fatalities per 100 million miles driven from 1.28.

Read more »