King of Prussia - GVF, a not-for-profit organization created to advocate and promote a viable transportation network for the region's economic vitality, hosted its first signature event of the year, its Annual Legislative Breakfast.
Over 100 industry executives were in attendance to hear from some of the top local and state elected officials, who provided updates on relevant transportation issues in our region.
Federal updates: Congresswoman Madeleine Dean
Keynote speaker, Congresswoman Dean stated that “Of the greenhouse gas emissions threatening our planet, 27% are produced by cars. We need to address this.”
The Congresswoman expressed that from her first elected seat in office, as Commissioner for Abington Township, through her assumption of Josh Shapiro’s PA Representative seat, her focus has been live able, walkable, connected communities.
The Congresswoman stated that the redistricting of PA has given Montgomery County a real ‘seat’ at the congressional table and feels very strongly that the newly elected, diverse Congress is working through some very important bills. Two (2) bills that will be priority this year include:
· Campaign Finance Reform
· Infrastructure and Transportation
· The Congresswoman stated, the White House has shown support of transportation projects and that there is bipartisan support. Congresswoman Dean believes that the Infrastructure and Transportation bill needs to be ‘robust’ (heavily funded).
State Representative Briggs is a long standing GVF Ex-Officio Board Member and was recently appointed Minority Chair of the Judiciary Committee. Briggs served on the Transportation Committee for several years.
“All important transportation projects involve a lot of hard work in dealing with people who don’t support the project and making sure that they are heard as well,” said State Representative Briggs.
State Representative Hennessy is the newly elected Transportation Committee Chair. Hennessey commented on the importance of passing transportation legislation like Act 89. Act 89, also known as Pennsylvania’s Transportation Bill, was signed into law in 2013 to fund road projects, bridge repairs, and public transit. Hennessey stated that passing the ACT 89 bill with a Republican majority was a major win.
Hennessey recognized the economic vitality of our region. “The five counties of Southeastern PA represent 38% of the revenue for the State of PA,” said Representative Hennessey.
State Representative Bradford is the Minority Chair for the Appropriations Committee. Bradford addressed the effects of the recent election noting that the increase in the number of Democratic legislators has resulted in a larger number of conservative Republicans. He feels it will be more difficult to build consensus on key transportation initiatives because of this.
Bradford was complimentary of Governor Wolf’s “Restore Pennsylvania” initiative. The new infrastructure initiative will be funded by the monetization of a severance tax. The initiative will invest $4.5 billion over the next four-years in significant, high-impact projects throughout the commonwealth to help propel PA in terms of technology, development, and infrastructure.
Bradford noted that the recent lawsuit of independent Truckers against the PA Turnpike represents an area where the State of PA came up ‘short’ in fully planning for transit funding needs. “Going forward we need to avoid ‘patching’ shortfalls with unsustainable practices,” said Representative Bradford.
Commissioner Kichline addressed the ‘Connects’ components of Chester County’s Landscapes 3 Planning document approved in Fall 2018. Highlights included:
· Chester County is the fastest growing county in the state of PA, with a 22% population growth predicted by 2045.
· Chester County is focusing on resuming regional rail services to Coatesville. This service has been dormant since 1994.
Commissioner Arkoosh discussed the benefits that the region will see through the King of Prussia Rail project. The King of Prussia Rail is a transformative project with the power to promote and strengthen regional growth, meet the needs of current and future development trends, as well increasing transportation needs.
Commissioner Farrell provided updates on Chester County’s trail development. Chester County currently has 22 miles of trails with plans to extend. The County has a $250,000 initiative underway, to assist municipalities with planning work related to sidewalks and trails.
Commissioner Lawrence also spoke on the importance of trails within Montgomery County. Montgomery County currently has 90 miles of trails. Commissioner Lawrence emphasized that the connection of the Chester Valley Trail to the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown is very important to complement the County’s efforts in Norristown.
Commissioner Lawrence also provided updates on the Lafayette Street project. This is a $90 million project. The county is currently in Phase 3; which includes a direct exit from the PA Turnpike into downtown Norristown.
Montgomery County is one of 23 counties that are using the $5 vehicle registration fee to address structurally deficient county bridges.
"I want to thank Congresswoman Dean, State Rep’s Briggs, Hennessey and Bradford, Commissioners Kichline, Arkoosh, Lawrence and Farrell for taking time out of their day to speak to our members. Transportation and TDM are going through many changes and it's important that we have a dialogue with our elected officials so that we can all cooperatively work together to have a viable transportation system for our collective future. I would also like to thank the GVF Board of Directors, our staff, our sponsors and our attendees", said Rob Henry, Executive Director of GVF.
Click here to see photos from the event.
Thank you to our 2019 Annual Event Sponsors:
Diamond Level: Kaplin Stewart, Urban Engineers
Platinum Level: Boles Smyth, Brandywine Realty Trust, McMahon Associates, Pennoni, RK&K, Vanguard
Gold Level: King of Prussia Mall, Michael Baker International, TimHaahs, Traffic Planning and Design, Inc., WSP
Silver Level: BartonPartners, Comcast, Commute with Enterprise, DVRPC, Gannett Fleming, HNTB, Santander Bank, SEPTA, STV, Suburban Transit Network, TranSystems, TY LIN International
Founded in 1990, GVF is a not-for-profit organization created to advocate and promote a viable transportation network for the region’s economic vitality. To maximize awareness and develop sustainable support, we partner with public and private entities.
GVF's mission is to achieve a desirable quality of life and a healthy, competitive economic environment by developing multi-faceted transportation strategies. For more information about GVF or to learn about the benefits of partnership, visit www.gvftma.com.