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Spirit spreads its wings: News of Spirit Airlines beginning service this spring out of Pittsburgh International Airport prompts concerns over the carrier's long-term future at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport near Latrobe. Officials with Spirit and the Westmoreland County Airport Authority assure that the airline's flights out of both airports will complement each other. And Arnold Palmer Regional has the additional bonus of free parking. Not exactly reassuring, however, is the report earlier this year of the drop in passengers at the Westmoreland airport— more than 18 percent — which was attributed to the cancellation of Spirit flights to Chicago and Las Vegas. Now with expansion plans in the works, including an $8 million terminal project, here's hoping Arnold Palmer Regional will secure a more certain future by landing a second carrier.
Priming the pump: The North Oakland neighborhood in Pittsburgh is prime real estate, at least in the opinion of one Allegheny County Council member. It's also close to the city's universities. Yet the New York developer of The Empire, with 329 market-rate student apartments already under construction, qualified for a 10-year tax break under what's called Local Economic Redevelopment Tax Assistance. And what message do these market perversions send to developers looking to boost their bottom line on the taxpayers' dime? Maybe these tax breaks simply should be called what they are: easy money.
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