November 20, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - After months of debate, the state House failed to pass legislation Monday night that would have provided $2.3 billion to complete long-overdue repairs to the state's aging transportation infrastructure. In a stunning 103-98 vote that teetered between passage and defeat until the last moment of the roll call, lawmakers shot down an amendment to fix thousands of substandard bridges, repave hundreds of miles of crumbling roads, and pump hundreds of millions into modernizing mass transit systems across the state.
November 15, 2013 |
HARRISBURG After weeks of closed-door negotiations, Pennsylvania's legislative leaders agree on this much: If there is no vote by the middle of next week on a measure to provide billions of dollars in additional transportation funding, the bill is as good as dead. "You can go back to planning the funeral," Speaker Sam Smith (R., Jefferson) said this week when asked what would happen if the House did not consider the issue before it breaks Wednesday for the Thanksgiving holiday. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware)
November 12, 2013
THE "UNABLERS" (unable to deal with liquor, pensions, property taxes, oh, you know the list) are due back in the Capitol tomorrow to see what they're unable to deal with now. This after a two-week break for elections in which they weren't running. And guess what? With just 10 session days left this year, there's renewed talk of finally dealing with failing infrastructure and underfunded mass transit. How high's your confidence level? Talk's gone on for years: Fix the infrastructure.
November 11, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA Mary Schaheen arrived at the annual Philly Bike Expo on Saturday looking for a custom frame. She wanted a smaller bike, one that would allow her to hop on the seat without leaning sideways and spilling a bag of groceries strapped on the back. She also wanted disc brakes for when she pedals through the snow. "My only mode of transportation is the bike or public transit," said Schaheen, a senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry who lives in Washington Square West.
October 25, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - Stop playing politics and pass a transportation funding bill. That was Gov. Corbett's message to the legislature Wednesday, as another week went by and lawmakers left without a deal to provide billions of dollars in new funding for roads, bridges, and mass transit in Pennsylvania. Speaking after a bill signing in the Capitol, the Republican governor appealed to the GOP-controlled legislature to continue negotiations on a transportation funding bill, and deliver a final product to him before the end of year.
October 16, 2013
New evidence that proximity to a rail station can increase a home's value underscores mass transit's importance to Pennsylvania's economy. A study commissioned by SEPTA found that homes near train stations in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks Counties are worth an average of $7,900 more as a result. According to the study, conducted by Econsult Solutions, homes within a half-mile of a rail station are worth about 10 percent more than those that are at least three miles away. Stations with more service, like ample parking and frequent rush-hour trains, have a greater effect on property prices.
October 14, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - The coming week could determine the fate of billions of dollars in new funding for roads, bridges, and mass transit in Pennsylvania. Republicans who control the House of Representatives have been working behind the scenes with Democratic colleagues and the Corbett administration to negotiate a transportation funding plan with enough support to finally pass the chamber. GOP House officials said they expected to reach an agreement in days, and bring it up for a full floor vote the week of Oct. 21. If they can't, the odds of reviving the bill this year or next are slim - and "the transportation issue is probably over," said Dave Thomas, legal counsel to House Speaker Sam Smith (R., Jefferson)
October 3, 2013
HOW YOU ENJOYING your government shutdown thus far? What's that? You say your government's been shut down? Oh, you must be thinking about this Congress passing the fewest bills of any Congress since it began keeping such stats 66 years ago. And, of course, acting like wood-headed puppets in a never-ending production from The Theatre of the Absurd. No budgets, no raising the debt ceiling, no peace, no hope, just "The Myth of Sisyphus. " Or maybe you're referring to the state Legislature's ongoing failure to deal with anything more substantial than a resolution designating October as "Wine, Wineries and Grape Month.
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.