Just in time for the electoral silly season, Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D-Pa./Comcast SportsNet) is pleased to offer the following gift for those who were seeking an extension of the R-6 Norristown line to Phoenixville, Pottstown and Reading...
"Schuylkill Valley Metro -- gone -- that isn’t going to happen."
This according to the Daily Local News in today's editions. While gracious enough to interrupt his very busy schedule as an Iggles commentator to play the role that the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania elected him to do - you know, that rather minor position known as Governor which requires the person to competently run the state government. Rendell told the editorial board of the Norristown Times-Herald (a sister paper to the Daily Local) that exact quote in describing the current status of the controversial project.
"We’ll never get the (necessary) funding."
The sad part is that anyone with half a brain (which automatically disqualifies 90 percent of teh Rotating Resumes at 1234 Market) could've figured that out.
The state’s share for the rail project is $300 million. The rest would have to come from the federal government or private investors. Rendell said cost-cutting measures had been discussed.
"In light of the new construction costs, it’s untenable," he said.The cost of highway construction has gotten so expensive the state is considering toll roads in the future to pay for building and maintaining the Commonwealth’s roadways, said the governor.
Obviously, Rendell seems to have bigger priorities in mind, such as, the Iggles pre-season and getting re-elected.
The Ink-waster reports in today's edition that the super-secret task force established by state Transportation czar Allen Biehler was in the process of pulling the plug on said task force, a group so secret, even SEPTA officials were left out of the loop (which, to an extent, may not have been such a bad idea at the time).
Biehler conceded yesterday that those discussions proved futile. No option that the group discussed, he said, would meet the stringent cost per passenger formulas needed to qualify for federal funding.
The task foce has not met since last fall, and Biehler said it will soon disband.
I think I speak for a majority of the riding public when I ask, "Who the hell knew you guys were meeting in the first place?"
Not surprsingly, many elected officals in the western suburbs, still recovering from the freshly placed wounds in their collective backs were less than thrilled with King Eddie's "no can do" addy-tude. Leading off, U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-6th/West Pikeland):
"It was unfortunate and premature for the governor to make that statement ... But there are still a lot of things to look at yet before someone says it's dead.
"Thirty million dollars, that’s a significant investment by taxpayers, which tells me that we still have a significant amount of work that should" be done to justify that expenditure...
"You can run with a diesel train, you can run with ground-level platforms, you can run with less frequent service ... you don't necessarily need the Cadilac version in order to reestablish service."
Next up, State Sen. James Refferty (R-44th/Collegeville):
"We’re all in agreement there’s a need for a line in the area."
Commissioner Thomas Jay Ellis (R-Montgomery County/Anger Management Class):
"The county’s definitely committed to this for a number of reasons." ... Ellis referenced the need for revitalizing local areas in cities like Pottstown and Reading where there is already development.
"We don’t want to see any more sprawl in this area," he said.
Barry Cassidy, executive director of Phoenixville’s Main Street program, said he was not sure of the status of the project.
"But if the Schuylkill Valley Metro is dead, then we will try to push for an (SEPTA) R-6 extension from Norristown," he said Wednesday.
Which is exactly what should've been done in the first place! DUH!
State Rep. Carole Rubley, R-157th, of Tredyffrin,called Rendell’s comments "discouraging." "It is discouraging to hear him say that because we will need his support to free up those funds," she said Wednesday, referring to the state’s $300 million share of the project. "It’s a terrific project. Whether its doable remains to be seen."
Rubley emphasized that there is still a lot of interest in the project and stakeholders were working to find creative solutions to pare down costs.
Whether or not the geniuses at 1234 Market get the message remains to be seen...
(NOTE: As of the time of this posting - 03:04 hours - the Inky had yet to update it's web site to accomodate posting of it's article.)