Vincent Valdes came to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission 3½ years ago with strong reorganization plans and high hopes of finishing his career with hands-on experiences with local communities after working on the funding end of projects with the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Now as he retires from the regional planning agency, Valdes leaves behind an agency with new subject offices dedicated to regional environmental issues; regional policy dealing with issues such as locks and dams, freight movement and artificial intelligence; a greater capability of going after federal funds; and building a role in broadband connectivity…
As an example of a more regional approach to major issues, Valdes pointed to the shortcomings in broadband coverage that were highlighted by the pandemic. Some school districts had huge problems with remote learning because their students didn’t have home internet access.
That led to strong federal and state efforts to provide complete coverage. SPC has taken a leading role in this region as hundreds of millions of dollars have become available to address the issue.