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Cheers & Jeers

3 min read
article image - Courtesy of the Senator John Heinz History Center
The Liberty Tunnels opened 100 years ago.

Cheers: The tunnels that are cut through mountains and hillsides and under rivers are marvels of modern engineering. And it’s easy to imagine how awed drivers must have been a century ago when they traveled through the Liberty Tunnels in their Model Ts when it opened to traffic in January 1924. They were the first tunnels designed for cars in the United States, and were a crucial part of the growth of the South Hills. Downtown Pittsburgh and communities like Mt. Lebanon and Dormont were once separated by Mt. Washington, but the Liberty Tunnels brought them together. It’s estimated that 50,000 vehicles pass through the inbound and outbound tunnels every day, which comes to 18.2 million vehicles every year. The Liberty Tunnels are an everyday part of our infrastructure, but we shouldn’t take their value – and the fact that they even exist – for granted.

Cheers: The New York Times reported this week that electric vehicles are becoming more affordable as a result of increased competition, manufacturing that has become more efficient and the lower cost of materials. Also, chargers are getting faster. Electric vehicles are rapidly coming down the pike, and the Bethel Park and South Fayette school systems are among the districts that have received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Bus Program to add vehicles that run on clean energy to their fleets. The two South Hills school districts are among 530 districts across the country chosen to receive $900 million in funding to replace diesel-burning buses that are not good for the environment and have been linked to asthma and other health conditions. Congressman Chris Deluzio said in a news release, “This is a big win in the fight to protect our kids from the harmful impacts of air pollution and to improve our region’s air quality.”

Jeers: Anyone who is playing on a Major League Baseball team today was not born when Pete Rose was in his glory days with the Cincinnati Reds, or too young to remember his downfall in 1989, when he was booted from the sport for betting on games. Baseball enthusiasts of a certain age undoubtedly thought of Rose this week when it was announced that Tucupita Marcano, an infielder for the San Diego Padres, is being permanently ejected from Major League Baseball after he placed bets on Pittsburgh Pirates games while he was with the team last year. Four other players, none with the Pirates, were suspended. Granted, Marcano was out for the season with an injury when he made the bets on Pirates games, but the rules are the rules, and players are prohibited from gambling on baseball. Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, explained, “The strict enforcement of Major League Baseball’s rules and policies governing gambling conduct is a critical component of upholding our most important priority: protecting the integrity of our games for the fans.”

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