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Keeping Momentum to Support Investment in Our Region’s Transportation Infrastructure

Posted Monday, December 5th, 2016

Member News, Economy, Frontpage 1, home-inthenews-1

Both in Philadelphia and across our region, the Chamber supports continued efforts to improve and invest in mobility through our infrastructure network, which is one of the most crucial keys to Greater Philadelphia’s economic success.

Addressing Core Infrastructure Issues in Philadelphia

Philadelphia has come a long way in terms of infrastructure and now has several ways to get around. However, over the next several years, supporting a growth program to specifically focus on advancing infrastructure that impacts our economy, environment, and public safety is critical.

Addressing these core infrastructure issues now will jump-start our economy and provide long-term benefits to our city and region’s economic competitiveness:

Expanding our city’s Bike Share Program, Independence Blue Cross’s Indego, which currently has over 100 stations throughout the city.

Advancing the most cost effective approach to link Center City with the Navy Yard, which employs over 12,000 people, as well as the planned development across the lower Schuylkill River. This expansion is already underway with Pennovation and environmental cleanup efforts in the area surrounding our historic Bartram’s Gardens.

• Improving the transportation infrastructure necessary to accommodate the fluid and growing movement of people and employees from the area of our zoo down through University City, which recently hit the 75,000 job mark.

• Continuing to advocate for the development of high speed Amtrak rail service via 30th Street Station so businesses in D.C. and New York can visit us more often and even set up shop here.

• We can also move in a modern way to access our central waterfront by capping I-95, linking Fishtown to our Northern Waterfront, and extending trails and amenities to the south connecting in a new and modern way Bella Vista, Pennsport, and “the deep south” to the Delaware River.

• In the Northeast, we need to be vigilant in pursuing and supporting the array of safety measures being designed for the Roosevelt Boulevard. We can work together to define corridors that would be tailored made for rapid bus transit and even SEPTA extensions to the outer areas of our city.

New Coalition Launched to Promote Rail Infrastructure Investment Across Northeast Corridor

Focusing on infrastructure that impacts our entire region, business and community stakeholders announced on December 1, 2016, the formation of the Coalition for the Northeast Corridor (CNEC) – a group brought together, including the Chamber’s CEO Council for Growth, to realize the Corridor’s potential by advocating for federal infrastructure investment and to pursue an ambitious vision for growth.

As a powerful engine of the U.S. economy and epicenter of sustained on urban living, our region relies on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) to move and sustain a workforce that contributes $50 billion annually to the American economy. The “NEC Infrastructure Master Plan” estimated that the NEC will need $52 billion over the next 20 years in order to reach a state-of-good-repair ($11.7 billion) and to accommodate future expansions ($40 billion). According to both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, without major investment ($20-$50 billion over the next 20 years) the corridor’s rail infrastructure will be unfit and unsafe to support passenger demand. 

With economic and population trends predicting even more traffic in the region, the time is now to invest in this key asset. Because of the CNEC’s work already, most projects have been scoped, studied and are ready to commence. However, a cohesive message and advocacy strategy is necessary from NEC stakeholders to demonstrate to Congress the benefits of protecting the NEC and funding its myriad of infrastructure projects.

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