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Essential Pittsburgh: Without Steelers And Casino Contributions, Can Free-Fare Zone Stay Free?

John Marino
Allegheny Station on the city's T system may no longer be part of the free fare zone that transports sports fans to Heinz Field and Rivers Casino.

The end of a three-year agreement between the Port Authority and the Steelers and Rivers Casino corporations that enabled T riders to reach Allegheny Station free of charge may upset the transit system's free fare zone. Without funds from either organization, the Port Authority must either pick up the tab itself or start charging riders who use the T stop to attend sporting events. Alex Zimmerman has been covering the story for the City Paper and joins us to discuss the issues surrounding the suspension of the deal. 

Zimmerman says the change is due, in part, to the Port Authority's desire to separate subsidies from advertising rights for the two stations on the North Shore:

"Port Authority went to [the subsidizing entities] and said 'We're happy to continue our agreement with you, but we want to retain ad rights.' ... The Steelers and casino aren't saying much about what their negotiating position is." -- Alex Zimmerman

Also in the program, local entrepreneur Mont Handley describes the peat moss substitute that he invented, Margaret J. Krauss tells an untold story about Pittsburgh during WWII, and Johnstown Tomahawks representative Chad Mearns talks about Johnstown's recent recognition as "Hockeyville USA."

Pitt Moss (begins at 26:32)

Concern for the environment resulted in the creation of Pitt Moss, an environmentally friendly replacement for peat moss. Joining us to address how this locally made product is helping the environment is Pitt Moss inventor Mont Handley, who is also President and CEO of Pitt Moss Development. 

WESA Celebrates Inventing Pittsburgh (begins at 37:22)

Seventy-five years ago a group of Pittsburghers, alarmed by the potential for American involvement in the Second World War, offered a unique proposition to halt German aggression, Margaret J. Krauss reports. 

Hockeyville USA (begins at 41:27)

The city of Johnstown has won a contest sponsored by Kraft that designates it as "Kraft Hockeyville USA." Winning the designation comes with a $150,000 first prize that can be used to make improvements to the historic War Memorial Arena, home of the Johnstown Tomahawks junior hockey team. It's also the arena used in the classic 1977 movie "Slap Shot" starring Paul Newman. Chad Mearns, Marketing and Communications Director for the Tomahawks, explains the contest and talks about what it means for the future of Johnstown as a hockey city.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be found here

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