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Old 01-26-2012, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Philly
8,589 posts, read 6,737,153 times
Reputation: 1939
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
If you want to get the T to the airport, it certainly doesn't make sense to start on the wrong side of the Ohio.

However, getting the T to the airport really doesn't make much sense in the first place, in light of the likely costs. It is the same problem as with freight rail--the nearest existing rail is running along the Ohio, and getting it to the airport from there would be very, very costly, particularly in light of the local topography. The T is also the wrong technology for long-distance express runs like that.

So to the extent you wanted better transit service from the airport, you'd be better off extending the West Busway all the way into Downtown (as originally planned, which would have lots of additional benefits), and then upgrading the 28X.

Here, by the way, is a PA rail map (PDF), and you can see the problem--the airport is in a huge rail dead zone (for those not intimately familiar with its location, it is right next to the Highway 60 marker in the west part of Allegheny County):

ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/BPR_pdf_files/MAPS/Statewide/parail.pdf (broken link)
unfortunately transit wouldn't address any freight rail needs...commuter rail, otoh, could be shared between freight and intercity trains
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:35 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,240,380 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Copanut View Post
I don't see the need for a direct line from the Airport to downtown. How often would it be used?
Yep, that's a problem.

Again, though, an upgraded 28X would make more sense, since it is scalable to airport--Downtown demand.
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:37 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,240,380 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
unfortunately transit wouldn't address any freight rail needs...commuter rail, otoh, could be shared between freight and intercity trains
I agree that if you were putting freight rail to the airport anyway, then you might as well include a commuter rail plan.

I don't see either happening, though--neither the freight nor the passenger needs generated by the airport, nor both combined, are plausibly going to be sufficient to fund such a rail line.

Edit: Oh, and I would hope we would have learned our lessons when it comes to huge capital projects dependent on the notion we will outcompete other locations for airport-related activities that aren't actually based on local demand. This isn't in response to pman, just a general note in light of the context in which this conversation arose.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:42 PM
 
6,235 posts, read 3,585,299 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Copanut View Post
I don't see the need for a direct line from the Airport to downtown. How often would it be used? I know I wouldn't living in the North. A lot of business people never see downtown with all the industrial parks in the 'burbs. And if you want to run it from the stadium towards Sewickley than over the river, the commute time would be very long.
Maybe as a start for future expansion. But I can tell you it's been great for Atlanta. Granted the Atlanta airport is 10x busier and we have more hotels and convention business. But getting people easily to and from the airport and downtown has been a huge benefit. It might make downtown Pittsburgh more appealing to businesses that frequently use the airport.

And speaking of industrial parks...maybe there should be an effort to buyout Moon and fill it with industries that could use a close connection to the airport, using primarily the cargo center. I say that because Moon township, what with their concern for airport noise, seems to be holding the airport back.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
10,732 posts, read 6,654,339 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PITairport View Post
Looking back, of course Colodny will stand by the decision he made. If you read other parts of the article you linked:

"The terminal project that Colodny committed the airline to financing back in 1988 was no easy sell. In fact, during much of the early-to-mid '80s, Colodny made a habit of saying no to the project despite repeated arm-twisting by the late Allegheny County Commissioner Tom Foerster.
Rather than commit USAir to an expensive construction project, Colodny at one point proposed renovating the old airport terminal in Moon, a cramped, dingy facility that had opened in 1952. And in what was perhaps the low point for Foerster and the new terminal's other proponents, Colodny came to Pittsburgh in May 1984 and announced that the airline wouldn't support the construction of a new terminal."

Furthermore, this is what he was saying at the time:

"What Foerster & Co. were talking about would be financial suicide, said Colodny (ever the businessman), because of the fees that would have to be charged to pay for a new terminal would drive airlines away from Pittsburgh"

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Google News Archive Search

They only committed to the project as the former terminal was falling apart.

I agree with you that US Airways would have pulled out regardless of what happened here.



It might be viewed that PIT was screwed by US and the bankruptcy process, but if they were not allowed to restructure in BK, then they would be out of business and PIT would be in worse shape than it is now.

The debt service could be paid down with the natural gas revenue, but both Dan Onorato and Rich Fitzgerald want that revenue to go to the County. The US de-hubbing is in the past, but the County is really hurting things at the airport going forward with their stance on the drilling issue.



32 is fine for landing FedEx and UPS, but not so much any potential heavier cargo planes, but that's fine as 28L and 28R can handle those.

I agree 100% the old terminal area should have been used for a large cargo complex. The ACAA wanted to do this at one point, but Moon Twp did not approve those plans because they were concerned about noise.

Cargo development is one thing Allegheny County should have pursued more. There could be a niche with air freight from overseas arriving at PIT (bypassing traditional cargo gateways at JFK and ORD) then being trucked onward to its final destination. We had 747s from Asia last year, about one a week. Airports such as Huntsville and Indy have developed a niche at this, and is something which should be pursued here.

As far as a more direct taxiway route to 14/32, here is an airport diagram. I'm not sure what else can be done in that regard.



Photo: FAA/Flight Aware

PITairport, thanks for your response to this thread. It is obvious you are in the know and it was educational and interesting for me as a reader. It is a shame PIT isn't competitive and the airport is a ghost town. Wish there was something that could be done, but seems gas wells aren't going to happen, lower fees aren't going to happen and PIT will just plod along with no growth and no advantages for residents in our region that need to fly. Interesting that leaders in our region don't understand how to grow things very well. Increasing costs all the time gets you nowhere. Especially in a business like air travel. Airlines can just plant a hub in a city that wants the business.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:50 PM
 
6,235 posts, read 3,585,299 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Edit: Oh, and I would hope we would have learned our lessons when it comes to huge capital projects dependent on the notion we will outcompete other locations for airport-related activities that aren't actually based on local demand. This isn't in response to pman, just a general note in light of the context in which this conversation arose.
So far, it works for Charlotte. It didn't work for Pittsburgh because Philadelphia was a more lucrative choice.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:59 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,240,380 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MathmanMathman View Post
So far, it works for Charlotte. It didn't work for Pittsburgh because Philadelphia was a more lucrative choice.
It sometimes works for some places for a while, but blowing that much money on the hope of permanently out-competing other cities for business in a constantly evolving industry where you have no natural advantage is a poor use of public funds.

Incidentally, we're not alone in making this sort of mistake:

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:17 PM
 
6,235 posts, read 3,585,299 times
Reputation: 1504
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
It sometimes works for some places for a while, but blowing that much money on the hope of permanently out-competing other cities for business in a constantly evolving industry where you have no natural advantage is a poor use of public funds.

Incidentally, we're not alone in making this sort of mistake:

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cincinnati too. But that had more to do with Delta's merger with Continental and the resulting oversupply of hubs.

Pittsburgh took a gamble and for a while it worked.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:32 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,240,380 times
Reputation: 2801
Quote:
Originally Posted by MathmanMathman View Post
Cincinnati too. But that had more to do with Delta's merger with Continental and the resulting oversupply of hubs.
Right, but that's the nature of the post-deregulation airline industry. Things are constantly evolving, sometimes in a dramatic fashion, which means if you sink an enormous amount of capital into an airport project that assumes certain business trends or practices will continue for an extended period of time, there is a very good chance you will end up wasting a large chunk of that investment. And that is particularly true if the business you are talking about is based on non-local demand which could just as easily be served somewhere else.

Quote:
Pittsburgh took a gamble and for a while it worked.
And then it stopped working, and USAir got out of their lease in bankruptcy, but we are still paying off the massive construction debt, which is causing us to have these high landing fees that everyone is complaining about.

Again, it is not that hard of a lesson to learn--don't sink enormous amounts of public capital into trying to capture airport business that is based on non-local demand, because that is a hyper-competitive industry and thus there is a good chance that the industry will evolve in such a way that the business you were counting on will be done somewhere else, or not at all.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,871 posts, read 8,534,209 times
Reputation: 4594
Quote:
Originally Posted by MathmanMathman View Post
Delta's merger with Northwest and the resulting oversupply of hubs.
Fixed.
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