"I'M FROM the government, and I'm here to help." Former President Ronald Reagan got a lot of mileage out of the joke in which he proclaimed that phrase the most terrifying in the English language. Luckily for Pittsburgh, it seems there was no bad omen associated with the scores of recent visitors representing our own government and other nations. Victor Mendez, the head of the Federal Highway Administration, led a delegation that heralded work intended to get more mileage out of the 40-year-old Fort Duquesne Bridge. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is using $26.2 million in federal stimulus money to replace the bridge's concrete deck and perform other repairs, permanent improvement that unfortunately comes with temporary inconvenience.
TEMPORARY inconvenience will be the watch words for locals during the G-20 summit next month. Some 200 representatives of the invited countries did walk-throughs at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and other event sites last week. Figuring out how to move world leaders and their entourages around is just one important task on the city's to-do list. As for the long-term impact of having the summit here, Karl-Matthias Klause of the Germany Embassy predicted that it would boost the city's profile, "maybe something like a little storm, coming and passing."
A PASSING STORM can do long-term damage, as residents of Western Pennsylvania learned firsthand on June 17 when record-setting rain damaged roads, bridges, homes and businesses. The Federal Emergency Management Agency initially rejected a request for assistance for individuals affected by the deluge, but now officials are back for a review. In addition, the state is applying for public assistance. This is one time when people from the government are here and they can help.