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Pittsburgh to spend $5M in private money to gird for natural disasters, improve infrastructure

Pittsburgh will receive $5 million over the next five years to spend on projects aimed at preparing the city to respond to and prevent natural disasters and other challenges.

Mayor Bill Peduto announced Saturday he signed a “resilience pledge” to commit 10 percent of the city’s budget to flood control, street and facility improvements and other projects.

The city already allocates about 10 percent of its capital and operating budget to such projects, said Tim McNulty, the mayor’s spokesman, and the pledge won’t change spending on ongoing projects.

“This pledge builds on our already fiscally sound budgeting practices, and allows us to further target city resources toward making our neighborhoods and financial structures even more resilient,” Peduto said in a statement.

The Rockefeller Foundation and 100 Resilient Cities will provide the $5 million. The city accepted a nearly $300,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in July to hire a resilience coordinator and analyst, participate in the 100 Resilient Cities Initiative and develop a city-wide resilience plan.

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Peduto is in Bellagio, Italy, attending the 100 Resilient Cities City Leaders Summit on Resilience. He will return to Pittsburgh on Monday.

McNulty said the mayor expected signing the pledge would generate further support from the Rockefeller Foundation but did not know how much until he attended the summit.

City council must approve the budget and any spending on resilience projects. Peduto has proposed a $517.5 million operating budget and a $70.2 million capital budget for 2016. Council will vote on the budget in November.

The additional money from the pledge is not included in the current budget proposal, McNulty said. Rockefeller could give Pittsburgh a combination of cash and resources, such as resilience consultants.

McNulty did not know the total amount that the city will allocate toward resilience projects in part because Peduto will seek similar commitments from the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, the joint Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Housing Authority.

Resilience projects include improving the city’s aging streets, bridges, sewer lines and infrastructure; upgrading and building senior centers for use in extreme weather; addressing sewage overflow problems; establishing a sustainable energy system; having LED lights in parking garages and streetlights; and planning and building affordable housing.

This article was written by Aaron Aupperlee from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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