Monday, May 10, 2004


In between allegedly attempting to reform the city's tax structure, one Philadelphia City Councilman is attempting to rally support for a project that was considered many years ago. The Inquirer reported on Saturday that at-large Councilman Jim Kenney (D) is floating around an idea to extend the Broad Street Subway to the Navy Yard and possibly into South Jersey.

Asked about the measure, Kenney said he believes it would help create thousands of jobs, ease traffic congestion, and increase the value of the land around the Naval Business Center, which he believes has tremendous development potential.

"I believe that people do not leave the city as a result of having public transportation, they leave the city for taxes and schools and other reasons," the councilman said. "Having that kind of Big Dig, so to speak, has the potential to bring this area together as a region."

Not everyone is on board though, but for different reasons.

First, SEPTA's Minister of Mis-Information Richard Maloney:

SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said the transit agency has had informal talks in the past about extending the line beyond the Pattison station, "but they've been just that - informal."

Any such move, he said, would require an extensive feasibility study that, among other things, would look at whether there would be sufficient daily ridership to support its operation.

Kenney's office said that if the hearings were successful, conducting a feasibility study would be the next step.

As for the project itself, now estimated to cost $1 billion, Kenney said he would seek federal funding.

Now, from within an already contentious City Council:

But first, Kenney will have to convince some of his Council colleagues that the idea is a good one.

At yesterday's Council session, Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell said she was concerned about the proposal, primarily because SEPTA's current reconstruction project of the Market-Frankford El has been a "nightmare." The price tag and the time line for that project's completion keep changing, she said.

"So when I hear the word SEPTA, I get worried about their commitment to any projects in our city and when they'll be completed," said Blackwell, adding she was also concerned that extending the line into New Jersey could lead to Philadelphia losing more residents and jobs.

No comments: