September 12, 2013
THE LATEST evidence about the importance of mass transit to the region comes from a Center City District release this week that revealed that nearly 70 percent of workers who live in Center City use public transportation to get to work. Imagine the traffic nightmare if they all decided tomorrow to drive their cars to get to their jobs. Major roads would become parking lots. And don't even talk about the Schuylkill Expressway. It seems a self-evident truth that SEPTA, with its 337 million riders a year, is a vital part of the region's economy.
August 20, 2013
No doubt reports of the demise of car ownership in Philadelphia and other metropolitan areas are premature - just ask any driver idling away a rush hour on the Schuylkill. But the gathering evidence that driving is being seen as something less than a required rite of youthful passage should be welcome in Philadelphia and other cities that offer so many ways to get around - and in regions whose air quality can only benefit from a drop in the number of people behind the wheel. Driver licensing among 19-year-olds has fallen 20 percent over the last two decades, and nearly half of that decline took place in the last few years.
August 12, 2013 |
CONSTRUCTION ON the eagerly awaited boardwalk extension of the Schuylkill Banks trail is chugging along, with its slated completion date of August 2014 mostly intact. Weather delays this winter, however, could add a month or two to the contraction timeline, said Lane Fike, director of capital programs at the Schuylkill River Development Corporation. "They have to pour the concrete on the deck, and that is dependent on weather," he explained. "We're pretty happy with the progress.
August 11, 2013
Wrong recourse for elusive justice The horror that occurred in Saylorsburg last week is a tragedy plain and simple ("Poconos shooter had other options, neighbors say," Aug. 8). That no one has the right to gun down others is also clear, both morally and legally. But coverage of the fatal shootings at a municipal building missed an opportunity to talk about access to justice, and the consequences of a society that makes justice and participatory democracy an illusion. Our Constitution creates the foundation for a system to allow ordinary citizens a voice and civilized recourse to settle disputes.
July 1, 2013 |
They might as well be on different planets. For all the talk of the youth vote, the growing electoral power of Latinos, and the gender gap, demographers know that the sharpest divide in American politics lies between urban and rural areas. Downstate Illinois resents Chicago. Outstate Michigan hates Detroit. Upstate New York is none too fond of the city of the same name. Then there's Pennsylvania. Right now, the most powerful current feeding Harrisburg's gridlock on the budget, transportation funding, and Medicaid expansion may well be the fear and loathing many upstate lawmakers have of the state's largest city.
June 27, 2013
Three competing transportation-funding plans are being considered by Harrisburg, but only one would go the distance to finally put Pennsylvania within reach of repairing aging bridges and roads while boosting aid to SEPTA and other critically needed transit systems linking communities across the state. A state Senate-approved plan that would raise $2.5 billion should be the basis for a long-awaited agreement to fund state transportation needs. Unfortunately, though, while Gov. Corbett and Republican legislative leaders appear to share a desire to properly maintain bridges and roads, whose upkeep has been pegged by successive studies at billions of dollars annually, they haven't agreed on the right approach.
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.