Pigs in pokes, times 3

Pigs in pokes, times 3

The Allegheny County Airport Authority was quick to dismiss as sour grapes a noted architect’s criticism of a $1.1 billion modernization plan at Pittsburgh International Airport.

It’s all the more interesting because the critic is Tasso Katselas, the architect who designed the existing 1992 terminals (landside and airside), widely emulated since worldwide.

As per the Post-Gazette, Katselas says the new plan – which would demolish or repurpose the landside terminal and tuck a new terminal close to the airside building – will “be too expensive and unnecessary.”

Additionally, Katselas calls the authority’s contention that no taxpayer dollars will be used in the modernization “a cruel joke.”

But authority spokesman Bob Kerlik intimated to the P-G that Katselas’ criticism comes only after his old firm’s bid for the project was not accepted. It’s an allegation Katselas denies.

Of course, time will tell if Tasso Katselas’ protestations were prophetic or baseless. But given the Airport Authority’s recent track record, and past being prologue, odds are it will be the former.

As all the rah-rah-sis-boom-bahers keep up the happy talk of Pittsburgh’s wonderful comeback, one damning metric keeps getting in the way of the latest “renaissance” – continual declines in the metropolitan area’s population.

As of July 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the seven-county metro area’s population dropped 5,540 people between July 2017 and last July. Far more deaths than births played a pivotal role in the number.

As the Post-Gazette reports it, “The new Census Bureau estimates from birth, death and migration data represent the sixth-straight year of decline for the Pittsburgh metro … and “the fifth consecutive year of estimated loss in Allegheny County, the region’s anchor.”

Perhaps more taxpayer subsidies for the airlines will juice an in-flow of new residents, right?

Perhaps all we need are billions of more dollars to, say, expand light-rail transit to here, there and everywhere, eh?

Or how about upping the ante at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and waive rental fees for all? Surely that will lead to a massive influx of new events for which their multiplier effects can be further embellished, right?

Hey, and given the baseball park and football stadiums are, egads, 18 years old, holy smokes, of course it’s time to set a fire under that laggard next renaissance and build two new sports complexes, right?

Had Greater Pittsburgh concentrated more on the fundamentals that really matter, perhaps it wouldn’t have to spend so much time rationalizing “renaissance” through population bleed.

And finally, this, for those near and far, who are recidivist insisters that we must severely cap – or, somehow (and ridiculously) virtually eliminate “greenhouse gasses” through some kind of “carbon tax,” from The American Enterprise Institute:

“With no prospect of environmental improvement and little of real beneficial spending, what is the rationale for a tax on ‘carbon’? Why not zucchini?

“Willie Sutton, who robbed banks because ‘that’s where the money is,’ would be proud.”

As for those “clean energy” alternatives, the institute’s Benjamin Zycher reminds:

“There is nothing ‘clean’ about it. There is heavy-metal pollution created by the production process for wind turbines. There are noise and flicker effects of wind turbines. There is the large problem of solar panel waste.

“There is wildlife destruction caused by the production of renewable power. There is massive and unsightly land use made necessary by the unconcentrated nature of renewable energy.”

Never have so many pigs been stuffed into so many pokes.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).