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BUSINESS
March 1, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Motorists and public transit users have little to fear from impending federal budget cuts. Most of the federal money for highways and mass transit operations comes from the Highway Trust Fund, which is exempt from the looming sequester, the mechanism that could require $85 billion in federal spending cuts this year. However, some rail or bus expansion projects could be delayed by cuts to the Federal Transit Administration's "New Starts" program. A 7.8 percent cut would mean about $150 million from a budget of $1.9 billion a year.
NEWS
May 24, 1998 | By Chris Mondics, INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
Think of the huge highway and mass transit bill that passed the House and Senate on Friday as a dream lottery where everyone draws a winning ticket. But in this case, the prize is an avalanche of public works projects. The bill, which President Clinton is expected to sign, includes $8 million for a tram connecting Camden and Philadelphia, $13 million for a new interchange and other improvements to Interstate 95 near Philadelphia International Airport, and millions for several ambitious SEPTA projects, including new commuter rail service to Reading.
NEWS
November 30, 2004 | By Jere Downs INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The two-year state legislative session officially ends today, without a stopgap plan to aid SEPTA in place, but the effort to save the agency from drastic cuts and fare hikes will continue. On Thursday, SEPTA's board will consider a plan to end weekend transit service and raise fares 25 percent in January - unless Gov. Rendell rides to the rescue. For now, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is quietly preparing to mend SEPTA's $62 million budget deficit with federal highway funds.
NEWS
September 18, 1990 | By Russell E. Eshleman Jr., Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
Gov. Casey's chief spokesman said yesterday that the administration was confident it could meet any requirements imposed on the state as a means of retaining Pennsylvania's share of federal highway money. Discussing a proposal before Congress by U.S. Rep. William H. Gray 3d (D., Pa.) that would withhold $142 million of federal money until the state came up with a dedicated source of mass transit funding, Casey spokesman Vincent P. Carocci said, "There are ways to comply with the law. " Refusing to elaborate, Carocci said, "Pennsylvania will not lose federal highway dollars no matter what the federal requirement.
NEWS
February 25, 2004 | By Mario F. Cattabiani and Jere Downs INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
If Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel has his way, major upgrades for two of Philadelphia's busiest traffic arteries and two of its most dangerous intersections will become a top priority. The Northeast Philadelphia Republican, on a roll when it comes to legislative coups, said he had talked with Gov. Rendell about building double-decker lanes above portions of the Schuylkill Expressway and Interstate 95 to ease congestion. "You will pay like a $10 fee," Perzel said, explaining his rough, early vision.
NEWS
February 24, 2005 | By John Sullivan INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In an effort to jump-start talks over a long-term solution to the state's mass-transit funding crisis, Gov. Rendell met yesterday with legislative leaders to discuss his own $562 million plan for transit and roads. But when Rendell and lawmakers emerged from the 90-minute meeting, they appeared no closer to resolving the question of how to provide a permanent source of money for transit agencies, an issue they have been grappling with on and off since November. "I think there was simply an agreement to continue to work and see if there are some new ideas," said Senate Majority Leader David J. Brightbill (R., Lebanon)
NEWS
March 7, 1998 | By David Hess, INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
In a test of congressional sentiment for affirmative action, senators turned back a move yesterday to repeal a law that guarantees a small share of federal highway contracts to construction firms owned by women and minorities. After a two-day debate, the Senate voted 58-37 to kill an amendment by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) that would have nullified a 16-year-old law requiring states to make a good-faith effort to ensure that at least 10 percent of federal highway spending goes to "disadvantaged business enterprises.
NEWS
April 11, 1989 | By Mark Jaffe, Inquirer Staff Writer
A coalition of environmental groups said yesterday that it would file a suit in U.S. District Court today against Pennsylvania and the federal government for the failure to curb ozone pollution in the Philadelphia region. The suit seeks to block more than $100 million in federal highway and clean-air planning grants until the state takes action to address the area's pollution problem. Last year, Philadelphia exceeded federal health standards for ozone - an acrid gas linked to a wide range of respiratory problems - 21 times.
NEWS
January 22, 1988
A quirk in the federal highway legislation could punish states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania that have chosen to stick to the slow lane and maintain the 55-mile-per-hour speed limit on rural interstates. This seems particularly pernicious in view of the fact that sticking with the 55-m.p.h. speed limit is starting to look increasingly prudent. Many of the 38 states that have raised the speed limit on their rural interstates to 65 have seen notable increases in the number of traffic fatalities since the new speed limits were posted.
NEWS
January 30, 2013
With his second veto of a proposal to place a huge digital billboard along the Vine Street Expressway, Mayor Nutter couldn't have made the right city policy much clearer to City Council - other than by posting the mayoral veto on a giant flashing sign of his own. Council members should take Nutter's message to heart this week in the event that the sign proposal's author, Councilman Mark Squilla, goes ahead with an effort to override the veto. Even if a share of the ad revenue from the billboard, to be affixed to the Electric Factory at Seventh and Callowhill Streets, supports programs at three nearby schools - a chief selling point, Squilla says - it's clear that the sign would be ill-advised in many ways.
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BUSINESS
March 1, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Motorists and public transit users have little to fear from impending federal budget cuts. Most of the federal money for highways and mass transit operations comes from the Highway Trust Fund, which is exempt from the looming sequester, the mechanism that could require $85 billion in federal spending cuts this year. However, some rail or bus expansion projects could be delayed by cuts to the Federal Transit Administration's "New Starts" program. A 7.8 percent cut would mean about $150 million from a budget of $1.9 billion a year.
NEWS
January 30, 2013
With his second veto of a proposal to place a huge digital billboard along the Vine Street Expressway, Mayor Nutter couldn't have made the right city policy much clearer to City Council - other than by posting the mayoral veto on a giant flashing sign of his own. Council members should take Nutter's message to heart this week in the event that the sign proposal's author, Councilman Mark Squilla, goes ahead with an effort to override the veto. Even if a share of the ad revenue from the billboard, to be affixed to the Electric Factory at Seventh and Callowhill Streets, supports programs at three nearby schools - a chief selling point, Squilla says - it's clear that the sign would be ill-advised in many ways.
NEWS
November 19, 2012
By Frank Cerabino WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Thousands of Floridians have gotten the idea that seceding from the United States is the proper reaction to the presidential election. This is good news for me - especially if these foes of tyranny put their rugged individualism into actual action by not using Interstate 95. My commute will be much easier when I don't have to share the federal highway with freeloading secessionists. Since President Obama was reelected - an outrageous perversion of democracy in which the person with the most votes was declared the winner - online secession petitions have popped up in more than 20 states.
NEWS
October 31, 2009 | By Paul Nussbaum INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Pennsylvania's latest effort to place tolls on I-80 argues that the plan to use the money for statewide transportation projects should pass federal muster. In papers filed late Thursday, state officials defended a complex financial arrangement to lease I-80 to the Turnpike Commission and use the tolls as a "lease payment" to the Department of Transportation for use on road projects elsewhere. The filing emphasized that much of the money collected from I-80 would be used to improve that road.
NEWS
July 31, 2009
The explosion of drivers using cell phones and BlackBerry-style message devices behind the wheel is ratcheting up the pressure for government regulation to keep the nation's highways safe. With a growing mountain of data outlining the clear safety risks, policy makers at both the federal and state levels cannot ignore the need to act. They do so at the peril of everyone who travels the roads. It was a hopeful development on Wednesday, then, that four U.S. senators called for legislation banning texting.
NEWS
February 19, 2009 | By Mario F. Cattabiani INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
For years, drivers in Pennsylvania had to worry about the "click-it or ticket" public service warning only if they were stopped for breaking some other traffic law. That might change soon. Hoping to tap into additional federal highway funding, Pennsylvania and at least a dozen other states are considering upgrading the infraction to a primary offense, meaning police officers can pull motorists over just for not buckling up. For the Keystone State, doing so could mean anywhere from $4 million to $6 million in new aid from Washington.
NEWS
August 14, 2007 | By Steve Chapman
After the Minnesota bridge collapse, House Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D., Minn.) was struck with a blinding insight on how to solve the problem of neglected infrastructure. Take a pair of vise grips and get a tight hold on your wallet. What occurred to Oberstar is that the federal government needs more money to spend on aging bridges. "If you're not prepared to invest another 5 cents in bridge reconstruction and road reconstruction, then God help you," he said.
NEWS
August 29, 2005
The highway construction lobby group Associated Pennsylvania Constructors has stooped to Philadelphia-bashing to criticize state funding for mass transit. The group's message, via a radio spot and a Web site, cheapens its image and foolishly undercuts its own transportation goals by trying to pit Pennsylvania's other 62 counties against the five served by SEPTA. The lobby complains that most of the $412 million in federal money that Gov. Rendell was forced to divert from state highway spending this year will go to SEPTA's five counties.
NEWS
August 6, 2005
Here's a political truism: One man's pork is another man's bacon. That is, what looks like horrid waste from a distance can look like a deserved hometown boon up close. And so it is, as the critiques begin of Congress' latest feeding frenzy over highway and transit funds. Still, in this bloated, $295 billion, 1,800-page mess of a federal highway bill, it's not hard to find the obvious waste. The bill includes $23 billion in pet projects for the most powerful porkers in Congress.
NEWS
February 25, 2005 | By Jere Downs INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Saying he's "not optimistic" that the legislature will agree on a mass transit rescue package by today, Gov. Rendell pledged yesterday to transfer enough federal highway funds next week to float transit agencies through June. The move would delay fare increases and service cuts threatened to begin soon for SEPTA and Pittsburgh area commuters. "I do not think we can have [transit agencies] continue to go month to month. I want to give them some degree of certainty," Rendell said at an appearance yesterday in Phoenixville.
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