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If you have a few minutes' break from shopping and Backyard Brawling today, check out PG transportation maven Jon Schmitz's piece on the 'T' tunnel from Downtown to the North Shore (photo above from PG's Darrell Sapp, taken in June '08) which Schmitz reports is 83 percent complete and not flooded by the Allegheny River. The tunnel, of course, has political overtones, which Jon points out:

The project is alive and well and 83 percent complete, said Winston Simmonds, the authority's rail operations/engineering officer, during a walking tour of the 1.2-mile, $528.8 million extension of the Light Rail Transit system this week.

"Still on schedule and under budget," Mr. Simmonds said, making his way through tunnels where there were a few construction-related damp spots but no gushing leaks and, sadly, no sign of that truckload of cash that a political TV commercial showed being dumped into the project.


At the other end of the tunnels, rising to the entrance to the North Side subway station, one can see a new Hyatt Place hotel, a Residence Inn by Marriott, a new concert amphitheater, office headquarters for Equitable Gas and StarKist Co., five restaurants, a parking garage, Heinz Field and PNC Park.

"One billion dollars in investment," Mr. Simmonds said. "I wouldn't call it 'nowhere.' "

He was referring to a campaign commercial aired by Tom Corbett, now governor-elect, ridiculing the project as a "Tunnel to Nowhere."

In other Corbett news, the Morning Call's John Micek has an interesting piece showing the challenges for the governor-elect in replicating the high-profile slashing of his neighbor in New Jersey, Chris Christie.

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