Migration and regional transportation are hot-button topics for Pittsburgh. I have a simple view of the transportation issue, because I don't know enough about it. Generally, I support the plans that help people get in and out of Pittsburgh, not around the region. But my vote is still for sale (not that my vote counts).
Concerning migration, I've dug in my heels. Patterns of migration are well understood, rare for the social sciences. This clarity is muddled thanks to the political charge of the issue. Outside of the quantitative modeling, not all migrants are created equal. Keeping Pittsburgh in focus, I offer three key migration points:
1) There is a strong positive correlation between mobility and wealth/education. Cheaper transportation and communication is feeding the current wave of migration, domestic and international. Your ability to pick up and move to a new place can greatly increase your economic options. Labor, particularly the rich and smart, is getting better at chasing capital.
2) Borders and distance still matter. Barriers of entry divert both capital and labor. Both seek the path of least resistance. People are still more likely to migrate nearby rather than faraway, toward the outsider-friendly over the xenophobic.
3) In-migration, not out-migration, should be the numbers of concern. Labor mobility is increasing, playing evermore the opportunist. In America, we are turning into location whores. Plenty of people are leaving Las Vegas, but you don't notice them because of the massive influx. Secondary and tertiary migrations are becoming much more significant.
Pittsburgh, like everywhere else, is going to experience a brain drain. What the region needs is another region to pillage. Let's devise a plan to steal their human capital.