How a federal transportation bill could help Philly fix roads, bridges and transit

Since this is a blog about how government spends our money, I thought it would make sense to point readers in the direction of an article I wrote today for PlanPhilly.

It looks at how a new federal transportation bill could affect Philadelphia, possibly bringing the region more money as it struggles with maintaining aging roads, bridges and mass transit — especially in the wake of a federal decision that gutted a law that was supposed to increase funding for those things.

Basically, a new emphasis by the Obama administration on promoting dense, urban communities might tilt transportation policy more toward older cities like Philly. Federal funding in previous transportation bills — there's usually a new one every six years — has been focused on adding new highway and transit capacity in newer regions. So you get new light rail lines in Phoenix, but SEPTA hasn't added a new rail line since the 1980s. (Bonus points to the first person who names the line in the comments section.)

But figuring out exactly how this will all play out will take awhile: The administration is probably going to have to wait for a new Congress to get into serious negotiations over the legislation.

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