Nutter/Rendell Beg Obama Administration For Infrastructure, SEPTA Funding

The state of Pennsylvania has so far failed with every conceivable plan for fixing up its crumbling infrastructure – DSCN1798a gas tax, tolling I-80, raising the price of registering your car – except one: Begging the federal government for more money.

It worked so well for that 2010-11 bullshit Pennsylvania budget, didn’t it? We only had to fire, what, 50 government workers to make way for Senator Arlen Specter’s shrine at Philly University, in his own neighborhood, where he can read books and documents about himself in retirement until he dies.

With that in mind, both Mayor Michael Nutter and Governor Ed Rendell trailed President Barack Obama back to Washington, D.C. after what will forever be known as M. Nutt’s Boo Rally Where A Guy Streaked And Someone Almost Hit Obama With A Book.

“We should begin investment in our infrastructure now, not wait for an emergency to force us to repair some of these assets,” Nutter released in a statement yesterday, likely in his real voice. “In 2008, I-95 was closed for three days while emergency repairs were made following the discovery of a six-foot crack, costing around $60 million in lost productivity and causing untold inconvenience. It is much more efficient and effective, not to mention safer, to invest now before some of these roads crumble and fall.”

It’s being reported by the Philadelphia Business Journal that while in Washington, Nutter also spoke about a $5 billion expansion of Philadelphia International (new runways, gates) and – TA DA! – $30 million to upgrade to SEPTA’s sorry fare system. M. Nutt and Rendell, as well as several other mayors and governors nationwide, had to sit in front of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the same man who no’d their plans to toll Route I-80 last spring. Even then, we were blogging all about how 38 percent of all the state’s roads and bridges are death traps, as per PennDOT.

In what should truly enrage the Tea Party, M. Nutt also nudged LaHood and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner regarding minorities and unions. African-American and Latino communities were so hard hit by the recession, M. Nutt said, there may be a “need to diversify the trade-union workforce,” according to the Inky.

Rendell, too, remains stuck on the infrastructure thing, claiming the stimulus saved 12,200 construction jobs and that the only mistake of said federal spending plan was that “[Democrats] gave in to the spin that took place at the beginning and never fought back.” Once he leaves office with his shit approval rating, Rendell plans to continue his work at Building America’s Future, an infrastructure advocacy group he heads with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Both of whom are members of the New World Order.

After the meeting, Nutter remained quietly confident he’d get the funding for which he asked – after a “bipartisan” infrastructure bill is passed (what’s a bipartisan?). But does M. Nutt include SEPTA in his assessment? We’ll see. Because I-80 isn’t being tolled any time soon, and even if it did, well, we’re sure there’d be another problem.

One Response to “ Nutter/Rendell Beg Obama Administration For Infrastructure, SEPTA Funding ”

  1. The surest way to work towards reinvesting in our infrastructure is to reprioritize where current funding is spent. Every year, we see millions of dollars poured into marginal projects that are unrelated to safety or efficiency improvements.

    Joe Casey at SEPTA went on tour this year talking about the failing power station at Wayne Junction, which powers regional rail trains. Yet that $50 million project was nowhere on the stimulus project list. Instead, we got a few new station buildings on the railroad, at $1.3 million a piece (for a building no bigger than an apartment), dressed up bus loops, more digital signs that tell us nothing, and a rebuild of the Media-Sharon Hill trolley lines, that were running fine with the infrastructure in place.

    Its time to take a look at where SEPTA’s priorities are. SEPTA is slated to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on parking garages, that will guarantee more traffic in the name of marginal ridership gains. The garage at 69th Street Terminal is a guarantee that riders will be shifted off of buses and trolleys, and choose to park at the Terminal, because its “easier”.

    SEPTA is also on course to spend over $10 billion dollars to eventualyl build high level platforms at all of their regional rail stations. This is an unsustainable course, and will come at the expense of expanding service on existing routes to where the population growth and changes have occured over the last 30 years.

    Many expansion projects are needed. The best one, and least likely to be built, is the Roosevelt Blvd subway, which has been planned for years. The current bus system cannot handle present and future demand for mass transit along this heavily congested route.

    Other much needed projects are the restoration of train service between Fox Chase and Newtown, Lansdale and Quakertown, and Phoenixville and Paoli, via the Greenline.

    None of these needed routes are going forward because SEPTA continues to squander the funding they have, and the state continues to prioritize and fund highway projects at a much greater rate than rail projects.

    Nothing comes close to the efficiency of steel wheels on steel rails. Its time to recognize and invest in the existing infrastructure we have that will deliver the highest benefit to the region.

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