Pittsburgh preps for self-driving cars

  • Emily Previti

From The Context, PA Post’s weekday email newsletter:

I’m on a reporting trip for the rest of this week. Ed Mahon will be filling in, with an assist from editor Scott Blanchard (shout out ahead of National Proofreading Day March 8!).  -Emily Previti, Newsletter Producer/Reporter

Business beat

Sarah Kovash / WESA

Uber is one of several companies testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh.

  • Pittsburgh has established rules for testing self-driving cars in the city, via an executive order from Mayor Bill Peduto. Multiple companies — not just Uber — are developing the technology and appear to be on board with the rules, which local officials claim are the most comprehensive in the country. Sarah Kovash has the full story for WESA.

  • About 65,000 of 135,000 U.S. households that use coal for heat are in Pennsylvania — more than any other state, according to this report from NPR’s Jeff Brady that also details the coal industry’s new strategy for increasing those numbers. Meanwhile, a new report identified hundreds of coal ash sites nationwide — nine of which are in Pa. — that are leaching into the groundwater supply, as Reid Frazier details in this StateImpact Pennsylvania story.

  • Gov. Wolf’s $24 million Pennsylvania Farm Bill is being heralded as historic. One major component is recruiting young farmers with tax breaks, loans and other incentives to get involved in ag, PennLive’s Jan Murphy writes. Another is the push to make Pa. the “nation’s leading organic state” — and given that top-ranked California is about four times as productive, revenue-wise, the commonwealth has a ways to go, as WITF’s Rachel McDevitt notes in this story.

Best of the rest

Matt Rourke / The Associated Press

A person walks past the dome of the Pennsylvania Capitol on the morning of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s scheduled budget address for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

  • State officials are in their final week of department budget hearings. Check out the greatest hits in the latest State of the State episode.

  • China’s cutbacks on acceptable recyclables has become a major issue for some U.S. cities — including Chester. WHYY’s Jon Ehrens has the full story.

  • Meth and cocaine use is up in some parts of Pennsylvania as opioid use has started leveling off, mirroring trends already established in other areas of country. Marc Levy has more details here for the Associated Press.

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