June 10, 2013
THERE'S A PHRASE floating around Harrisburg: "Keep your feet in sand. " Has nothing to do with being "down the Shore. " Has to do with positions lawmakers and Gov. Corbett might want to take on liquor privatization, transportation funding, pension reform and passage of a new state budget by month's end. It's good advice. Compromise. Be less rigid. Get something done. That way shifting elements within issues could lead to a budget, liquor reform, fixes for transportation and mass transit, and savings on pension costs.
June 7, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - The state Senate approved a $2.5 billion transportation-funding bill Wednesday, aimed at repairing thousands of aging bridges and miles of roads while pumping more money into transit, setting the stage for a fight over the bill's fate in the House. The plan, championed by Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty (R., Montgomery), ups the ante on the $1.8 billion proposal Gov. Corbett unveiled in February to address the state's infrastructure problems. Rafferty's bill, was approved on a 45-5 vote, would increase driver's license and vehicle-registration fees, and put a hefty surcharge on speeders and others who violate traffic laws.
June 4, 2013 |
Amid state and federal wrangling over transportation funding, transit leaders meeting in Center City said growing public support should mean more money for trains, buses and subways. "The people of the nation are way ahead of some of their elected leaders," Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said Monday, citing a new survey for the American Public Transportation Association that showed 74 percent of respondents supported using tax dollars to "create, expand and improve public transportation.
May 16, 2013
I'VE GOT an idea. I'm calling it "The One-Thing Rule. " It works like this: Every year, our Legislature focuses on only one thing. It can't be an enormous thing, such as the overall economy. Too much of that is driven by national/international trends and events. It can't be an impossible thing, such as ending poverty or promising equal-opportunity public education regardless of ZIP code. That's like promising peace in the Middle East. And it has to be Pennsylvania specific.
April 25, 2013
Bob Edgar represented Pennsylvania for six terms in Congress, but his influence in the region and the country well exceeded his time in office. Edgar, who died of a heart attack Tuesday at the age of 69, was a man of seemingly endless energy, enthusiasm, and compassion. He headed the good-government group Common Cause, and earlier had served as president of the Claremont School of Theology in California, as secretary-general of the National Council of Churches, and as a Methodist minister.
February 18, 2013
One fall a decade ago, New Jersey's Democrats had themselves a problem. U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli had effectively exploded in the waning weeks of a reelection campaign, catapulting rich-guy Republican Doug Forrester from long shot to favorite as fast as you can say "severely admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee. " Not to worry: The Democratic bosses hatched a plan to clean up the mess. They got recently retired Sen. Frank Lautenberg (their third or fourth choice) to agree to replace his old nemesis "Torch" on the ballot, and the state Supreme Court, in Trenton's answer to Bush v. Gore , actually let them do it. And so Lautenberg, the unlikely white(-haired)
February 12, 2013
THERE ARE SILVER linings in Gov. Corbett's playbook. Namely, he has a new/old player on his side, and Pennsylvania is Pennsylvania. Allow me to explain. Forget for a moment Corbett's 26 percent approval rating. Polls are snapshots. It's a long way to 2014. Incumbents not named Rick Santorum are hard to unseat. And, critically for Corbett, Pennsylvania is "The Land of Low Expectations. " It's a place where pols call the passing of an annual budget on time an "achievement.
November 18, 2012
With more and more roads leading back to Pennsylvania's transportation funding crisis these days, Gov. Corbett and Harrisburg lawmakers should be finding their way to a solution - and soon. They have one possible route already: Corbett's own advisory panel last year charted a nearly painless course of raising driver fees and the wholesale gas tax to bring in $2.5 billion more for highways, bridges, and mass transit. The governor is on record as well that something must be done to meet deferred maintenance, which has left the state with crumbling roads, deteriorating bridges, and SEPTA and other mass transit systems across the state having to scale back on key upgrades.
November 1, 2012 |
IN THE END, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, not the NBA, had the final say about the Brooklyn Nets' home opener at their new arena. The highly anticipated regular-season opener Thursday between the Nets and the New York Knicks at the $1 billion Barclays Center was postponed because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, Bloomberg announced Wednesday. "Mayor Bloomberg informed us this afternoon that after further analysis of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy that he felt it was in the best interests of the city of New York, the teams and our fans that we postpone the Knicks-Nets game scheduled for Thursday night," NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
November 1, 2012 |
By Frank Kummer With the exception of New Jersey Transit, most local mass transit systems are beginning to run smoothly after days of shut-downs and delays from Sandy. SEPTA ( www.septa.org ) is up and running, as is its regional rail line. The Trenton Line trains, which saw significant delays this morning, are running on or close to schedule. Riders on the Lansdale/Doylestown Line should till expect delays of up to 15 minutes due to signal problems - but that's down significantly.