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Published by the Transportation Management Association of Chester County
Congressmen Highlight Transportation Funding Challenges revenue for transportation projects because businesses in communities along the I-80 corridor would be adversely affected. He does support the development of high speed rail and revealed that a study will be soon conducted to explore the possibility of increasing speeds on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor from Washington D.C. to Boston.
U.S. Congressman Jim Gerlach (R – 6th District) U.S. Congressmen Joe Sestak (D – 7th District) and Jim Gerlach (R – 6th District) participated in a special forum on May 24 about traffic congestion, public transit, alternative fuels and funding for transportation projects in the region. The forum, hosted by the Transportation Management Association of Chester County (TMACC), was held at the Sheraton Great Valley Hotel in Frazer. Tom Tillett, District Chief of Staff for U.S. Congressman Joe Pitts (R – 16th District), also participated. Congressman Sestak, who won the Democratic nomination for Senate a week prior to the TMACC forum, said transportation issues were raised during the campaign. He is concerned about the impact of tolling on small businesses. Sestak said he did not support the state’s proposal to toll I-80 to generate
Congressman Gerlach, who won his Republican primary in his re-election bid the previous week, said funding transportation will be daunting due to the nation’s rising deficit and insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, which provides funding for transportation. A decline in driving and an increase in fuel-efficient vehicles have resulted in lower gas tax revenues for the Highway Trust Fund. Emergency transfers from the federal government’s general fund have been needed to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent. Gerlach said there have been many proposals to solve the transportation funding crisis, such as the Vehicle Miles Tax, i.e. charging motorists for each mile driven. He said that proposal is controversial, but a new transportation authorization bill may not be forthcoming and innovative ideas are being considered. Tillett, Congressman Pitt’s District Chief of Staff, explained that the country’s limited discretionary funds for programs not related to national defense or homeland security does not leave
U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak (D – 7th District) much for transportation. Tillett did not endorse any particular funding solution, but supported the continued evaluation of all ideas.
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IN THIS ISSUE... Congressman Highlight Transportation Funding Challenge.................................................. 1 Show Me the Money................................................ 2 Open Letter to Governor Edward G. Rendell...... 3 Welcome New TMACC Members......................... 4 Bus Fare Reduced to Help Employees in Malvern............................................ 5 TMACC Providing Free Bus Rides to Encourage Drivers to “Dump the Pump”............. 6 Ticket to Ride.......................................................... 6 TMACC Uses Social Networking Sites to Keep Commuters Connected............................. 7 Sustainability Issues Addressed at Earth Day Event................................................. 7
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TMACC Board of Directors
Carol Aichele Chester County Commissioner
Michael Baker PennDOT
Dr. Louis J. Beccaria, Ph.D. Phoenixville Community Health Foundation
Gene Blaum PennDOT
William Callazzo WJC Associates
John Calnan SEPTA
Diane Disney, Ph.D. Penn State Great Valley
The Honorable Paul Drucker PA State Representative, 157th District
Vito Genua, P.E., Chairman Gannett Fleming, Inc.
Theresa Shank Grentz Immaculata University
Linda Ingenthron State Farm Insurance; Linda Ingenthron Agency
C. Donald Jacobs Traffic Planning & Design
James Kilcur, Esq. Saul Ewing, LLP
Gary Krapf Krapf’s Coaches, Inc.
Steve Moore, P.E., Vice-Chair Jacobs
Susan Montgomery, CFM, Secretary [The] Vanguard Group
Ivory V. Nelson, Ph.D. Lincoln University
The Honorable Dominic Pileggi PA State Senate, 9th District
The Honorable John C. Rafferty, Jr. PA State Senate, 44th District
LLoyd Roach, Treasurer BrandywineRadio.com
Doug Schmidt Chester County Career Link
Donald Shanis, Ph.D. DVRPC
Thomas J. Sklow, CPA, CCIM Liberty Property Trust
The Honorable Barbara McIlvaine Smith PA State Representative, 156th District
Gary W. Smith CC Economic Development Council
Chris Williams McMahon Associates
Michael E. Herron Executive Director TMACC
Show Me the Money! By Michael Herron TMACC Executive Director With the recent decision by the Federal Government to reject Pennsylvania’s application to toll Interstate 80 along the northern corridor of the Commonwealth, transportation has suffered another setback in its goal for solvency. It seems that no matter the politician, reigning Governor, nor creative strategist, no one can solve this lifelong financial nightmare. My career in transportation has been marked by outstretched hands begging Harrisburg for the most meager of handouts. And I suspect with the few years I have left before retirement, this pattern will not change. Thirty years ago, I joined SEPTA as the Authority’s marketing director . . .you know the person responsible for spending hard earned fare box revenue to advertise bus and rail routes. No, I didn’t drive the bus, collect the fares, nor manage the operations. I just spent money! In retrospect, it’s a wonder I even had a job much less dollars to print brochures and produce radio commercials. And to make matters worse in the 80’s there was little if any dedicated funding for public transit. Sure the City of Philadelphia and surrounding counties had to pay some subsidies to keep the routes moving, but it was a minimalist approach. So I’m well versed in begging . . . sorry I mean lobbying. And unfortunately, in this business you become pessimistic. A few years ago, the Pennsylvania Public Transit Association (PPTA) worked especially hard to find a solution to public transit’s financial dilemma. Under the direction of PPTA’s Executive Director Marti Pierce, the Association’s member transit agencies and PennDOT Deputy Secretary Toby Fauver, we universally believed a workable solution had been found. Don’t increase the gas taxes, real estate transfer taxes, nor sell the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Just toll I-80! The legislature and governor agreed and passed Act 44 which called for tolling. While Act 44 was a bipartisan effort, it rapidly came unraveled when the federal government rejected Pennsylvania’s application for I-80 tolling, once again placing transportation funding back to square one. As one member of the Pennsylvania House recently said just throw every possible solution up against the wall and maybe something will stick. What’s the definition of insanity? You know “keep doing the same thing over and over again and think the result is going to be different.” Pennsylvania recently held its primary election in which two gubernatorial and two U.S. Senate candidates were selected. Now, the shift is moving toward new political leadership. Gov. Rendell and his administration are in the twilight of their Harrisburg tenures. There is no question that Rendell has worked extremely hard to secure funding for transportation, but his impact is rapidly dwindling. It’s time for the new gubernatorial candidates Tom Corbett and Dan Onorato and senatorial candidates Pat Toomey and Joe Sestak to publicly position themselves on this subject and offer their recommendations to solve the crisis. Highways, bridges and public transportation affect the livelihood and well being of every Pennsylvanian. Failure is not acceptable. After all I’d like to retire with transportation funding on the upswing.
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Open Letter to Gov. Edward G. Rendell about the Transportation Crisis, Part II
legislation that will provide hundreds of billions of dollars for the nation’s highways and public transit agencies, it should also include a provision that would encourage states to toll interstate highways.
Dear Gov. Rendell: It was only two years ago that you outlined a doom and gloom scenario for the Commonwealth’s transportation infrastructure and public transit agencies due to a funding crisis. The future of our roads, bridges and transit seemed dire.
Many Americans say they want to reduce government spending. You’ve seen the Tea Party rallies. Government spending can be reduced if we pay for what we use. Can you sense the irony here? You, a staunch Democrat endorsing a Republican ideal, user fees, in this case tolls. Theoretically, the more money the states raise, the less the feds have to spend. Isn’t this a win-win?
PennDOT identified the number of structurally-deficient bridges in the state and warned the legislature to act or risk a catastrophic accident, similar to the collapse of I-35W Mississippi River bridge in Minneapolis in Aug. 2007. Thankfully, the legislature responded to your message and passed Act 44 in 2007 and planned to raise revenue by tolling I-80. In retrospect, it may not have been wise to count on revenue from tolls that were not yet approved by the federal government. When the Democrats won the White House, tolling I-80 seemed like a sure thing. Oops.
Commuters and critics of federal deficit spending will object to paying tolls for previously free highway travel. Municipalities will complain that tolls would divert traffic to local roads. Businesses will gripe that tolls will hurt the local economy. Great leaders make difficult and, sometime, unpopular decisions. Governor, be that leader!
No one anticipated that the federal Department of Transportation under President Obama would interpret the law differently. That was truly a blind side worthy of an Oscar. Now we’re back to the drawing board.
People will adjust just like they did when gas prices spiked in 2008. Some will continue to drive, grumble and pay the tolls; others will use public transit – which is another benefit tolls could produce. There would be increased ridership, less traffic congestion, less carbon emissions.
I loved your stirring speech before the joint session of the House and Senate on May 4, but wasn’t it eerily similar to one you made two years ago? Well, it worked once before, but you know much has changed since 2007.
Anyway, if tolls were such a detriment to the commuting public, why hasn’t New Jersey removed the tolls on the Atlantic City Expressway and the Garden State Parkway? Have those tolls hurt Jersey Shore tourism and economy? It could be argued that Snooki did more harm to the Jersey Shore than tolls.
Let’s see: • There was a near meltdown of our economy; • The unemployment rate spiked at 9 percent; • Tax revenues are way down and casinos have not helped much; • Leasing the PA Turnpike, unpopular then, still unpopular; • State budget deficits continue to grow and grow and grow. There’s talk again about raising the gas tax, driver license and registration fees. Transportation-oriented public private partnerships, an oil company franchise tax hike, local sales and realty transfer taxes are all back on the table.
Governor, you’ll need to help Congress see the light on the tolling issue. Invite Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger along to D.C. for a bipartisan gubernatorial fight for the right to toll interstates. California is in terrible financial shape and could use the dough. And, you know that the financial reckoning for the Keystone State is coming soon. Pennsylvania, like most states, has a revenue problem. Indiscriminately cutting programs will hurt and anger citizens and will not provide enough funds for transportation. Tolls are one of the solutions.
Governor, these proposals may provide the state with a short-term solution to the transportation funding crisis, but you know a comprehensive, long-term solution must be developed to address the state’s rising transportation costs and shrinking revenue.
Will tolls be a tough sell to constituents? Yes, but you’re an Eagles fan, you’re used to people complaining. On the bright side, in a few months, this will be someone else’s problem.
Tolls must be part the solution. The federal government must enable states to generate revenue for transportation projects by allowing states to toll interstate highways. When Congress begins developing the new transportation
Sincerely, Derrick Stokes TMACC Marketing Director
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Welcome New TMACC Members!
The Sheraton Great Valley is an upscale 198 room, full-service, 3-Star hotel with over 7,000 square feet of flexible Meeting and Banquet space. This warm and welcoming property has all the charm of a country inn, but with all of the 21st century amenities you expect. The property boasts a beautiful restaurant and lounge, featuring the historic White Horse Tavern and Chesterfield’s Lounge. The White Horse Tavern is a restaurant located in section of the building which pre-dates the Revolutionary War. Exciting menus highlighting American Cuisine are prepared daily by our award winning Chef Michael Markoski. Guests can also relax in Chesterfield’s Lounge, which serves casual fare during lunch and dinner. Have a workout in our exercise facility featuring the latest in cardiovascular equipment. Perhaps soothe your tired muscles in our beautiful indoor pool, with whirlpool spa. If that sounds like too much, just pull up a lounge chair and take it easy. The Sheraton Great Valley Hotel is considered the premier full-service hotel in the Philadelphia Western Suburbs. When you arrive at the Hotel you enter history. The Sheraton Great Valley has 2 historic buildings connected to the hotel. The White Horse Tavern built in 1763 and the Glen Lincoln Tavern built in 1870.
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The Inn at Chester Springs presents its Rose Garden Gazebo and tented reception area. Two thousand square feet of banquet space adjacent to our pool. Let your imagination run wild when planning your next event. Wedding, Picnics, Barbecues, Pool Parties. Just another reason why the Inn at Chester Springs is the place to come together. The Inn at Chester Springs is the only full service hotel in the Exton-Lionville Chester Springs area. With over 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including two ballrooms, an Executive Board room, high speed internet access, ample breakout areas, spacious pre-function space, audio-visual technicians the Inn is the place to meet in Chester County.
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Atlantic is not responsible for errors or omissions. IMMEDIATE RESPONSE REQUESTED Congressmen Highlight Transportation Funding Challenges, Continued from Page 1 Verify spelling, address, phone number, content, etc. APPROVED AS SUBMITTED If we have made any errors, mark themthe clearly. They will be corrected at no the transportation Michael E. Herron, TMACC Executive Director, said the forum highlighted challenges facing industry. charge and we will send you another proof. If you have optional changes, mark them clearly. They will be made for a fee
ANOTHER PROOF “The country has relied on the gas tax to fund transportation for far proof. too long,” Herron said. “If wePLEASE areSEND going to maintain of $35 and projects we will send you another QUESTIONS? Call Kevin Stubbs at 800-832-3747 ext 127 SIGNED to our critical and modernize our transportation infrastructure, Congress needs to develop an innovative funding solution FAX SIGNED PROOF TO fax # 800-599-6420 DATE transportation needs.” (NO NEED TO MAIL OR EMAIL IF PROOF IS FAXED BACK)
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Book Ad Dept. The forum was sponsored by State Rep. Paul Drucker mailing (D –address: 157thExton District); Saul Ewing, LLP; Brandywine RESPONDHospital; Parsons Atlantic Communications Group, Inc. BY ________________________________________ Mill Road, Flourtown, PA 19031-2027 Brinkerhoff; McMahon Associates Inc.; and Traffic Planning and18 East Design.
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Bus Fare Reduced to Help Employees in Malvern TMACC will reduce fares on the Beeline bus this month to $1 to encourage Chester County residents to find and retain jobs in Malvern. The $2 base fare of the Beeline will be temporary reduced to $1 and any additional zone charges will be waved from June 17 to Sept 3. The Beeline, which began operations on in 2007, provides service during peak commuting periods from the Coatesville, Downingtown and Exton areas to Malvern and the Great Valley Corporate Center, Monday through Friday. The fare reduction coincides with the grand openings of a new Wegmans supermarket and Target retail store in the Uptown Worthington complex in Malvern. Nearly 500 full and part-time positions will be created when the stores open in July. Many prospective employees will be attending local job fairs, interviewing for available positions at both stores. “We have been working with the Pennsylvania CareerLink and the managers of the Wegmans and Target stores to educate and inform them of accessible public transit from western Chester County communities to Malvern,” said TMACC Marketing Director Derrick Stokes. “By lowering the fares, we are hoping that these new employees will discover the Beeline’s reliable and affordable service.” More importantly, Stokes added, the Beeline will able to reduce some congestion along Route 202 and the Route 30 Bypass by offering employees an alternative to driving. “The highways to Malvern and the Great Valley Corporate Center are very congested today,” he said. “If every Wegmans and Target employee drives to work, commuting to the area could become unbearable.” Stokes said reconstruction and widening of a 5.3 mile stretch of Route 202 between Route 252 to the Route 30 interchange in Tredyffrin and East Whiteland townships are scheduled to begin in 2011. Presently, the Beeline provides service to the Pfizer Malvern campus, which is adjacent to the Uptown Worthington complex. Pfizer will transfer most of its employees to its Collegeville facility by the end of June. At that time, the Beeline will cease service to Pfizer and begin service to Uptown Worthington on July 1. HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS EXTON 120 N. POTTSTOWN PIKE, EXTON, PENNSYLVANIA 19341 (610) 524-9000 Fax (610) 524-8264
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TMACC PROVIDING FREE BUS RIDES TO ENCOURAGE DRIVERS TO “DUMP THE PUMP” communities west of Coatesville to Parkesburg. The SCCOOT serves communities from West Chester to Kennett Square to Oxford. The Beeline serves communities from Coatesville to Downingtown to Great Valley.
TMACC will provide free service on its three bus routes on June 17 to celebrate the fifth annual National Dump the Pump Day. National Dump the Pump Day, which will be observed on Thursday, June 17, is dedicated to raising awareness that riding public transportation helps improve the environment and conserves fuel. Riding public transit is the quickest way to beat high gas prices. According to the American Public Transit Association (APTA), a two car household that downsizes to one car can save – on the average – more than $9,000 a year. The average household spends 18 cents of every dollar on transportation, and 94 percent of this goes to buying, maintaining, and operating cars, the largest expenditure after housing.
“Commuting is becoming too expensive and frustrating for many Chester County residents,” said Michael E. Herron, TMACC Executive Director. “We are hoping that residents who have become too dependent on their automobiles will take advantage of the free service and learn more about their commuting options.” Herron doesn’t expect commuters to immediately sell their vehicles and take transit every day. Changing commuting behaviors is not going to happen overnight.
To celebrate National Dump the Pump Day, service on the Coatesville Link, the SCCOOT and Beeline buses will be free for the entire day. The Coatesville Link serves
“If we can convince some motorists to leave their cars in their driveways at least once a week, that would be significant,” Herron said.
Ticket to Ride SEPTA. The Coatesville Link serves the Coatesville, South Coatesville and Parkesburg areas, with evening service between Coatesville, Thorndale, Downingtown and Exton. The SCCOOT route serves southern Chester County, including Oxford, West Grove, Avondale, Kennett Square and West Chester. The Beeline provides services from Coastesville and Downingtown to the Great Valley Corporate Center.
TMACC has created a special program with several nonprofit agencies to distribute discount bus passes and tickets to low-income residents who depend on public transit. An impressive social service network of county agencies and non-profits can provide assistance for food and clothing for many needy families. Unfortunately, in their efforts to become self-sufficient, these needy families struggle to cover the cost to commute to work, job interviews and job training.
These routes are essential to Chester County residents, especially those who do not have access to personal automobiles. The buses provide invaluable access to jobs and to the county’s social service safety net, including Pennsylvania CareerLink for job training and job placement. The buses provide access to basic needs, such as food and retail stores and local hospitals and health care centers.
TMACC seeks corporate partners to purchase discount tickets and passes and distribute them to a local non-profit organization with Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) taxexempt status. Donations to 501(c)(3) organizations are tax deductible. The discount tickets and passes can be used to travel on TMACC buses within Chester County.
These buses affect people, their communities, their local businesses and their quality of life.
TMACC operates three bus lines that serve parts of Chester County not covered by the regional transit authority,
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Sustainability Issues Addressed at Earth Day Event
TMACC USES SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES TO KEEP COMMUTERS CONNECTED
TMACC is now using social networking websites Facebook and Twitter to keep Chester County commuters informed of regional transportation issues.
TMACC hosted a special forum to provide helpful tips to conserve energy and save money. The purpose of the event, which was held at Penn State Great Valley on April 20, was to provide easy and costeffective solutions to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions at home, work and during the daily commute.
TMACC uses the social networking sites to disseminate transportation news and public transit scheduling information directly to the computers and wireless smart phones of commuters who register to become “friends” or “followers.”
The event was held in recognition of Earth Day, a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment held on April 22, said Michael E. Herron, TMACC Executive Director.
“TMACC realizes that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are quickly becoming today’s leading provider of information to the general public,” says TMACC’s Marketing Director Derrick Stokes. “Through these sites, we will provide Chester County commuters with real-time transportation information that will ensure a smoother commute.”
“Because we are advocates for alternative modes of transportation who are trying to reduce the congestion on our highways, we believe it is important to show commuters the cost of their commute – in dollars and in carbon emissions,” Herron said. “You don’t have to be an ardent environmentalist to want to learn how to implement cost-saving measures to reduce your carbon footprint.”
Facebook and Twitter are similar free social networking websites that have garnered world-wide popularity in the past two years. Facebook allows users to join online communities of people with shared interests and exchange ideas. Twitter differs in that users only send ‘tweets,’ or textbased posts, of up to 140 characters which are delivered to the users ‘followers,’ or friends. Both social networking sites are interactive.
The panelists who participated in the forum were: • Marla Thalheimer, LEED Accredited Professional (AP), Sustainability Manager, Liberty Property Trust; • Erik Johanson, Strategy and Sustainability Planner, SEPTA; • Bob Hittelman, Marketing and Account Manager, VPSI Inc.
Stokes said TMACC will also use these interactive networking sites to serve as a forum for commuters to discuss their commuting challenges. He added that the social media sites will provide commuters with a platform to promote their ideas to improve public transit and local highways.
Thalheimer provided a common-sense approach to reducing one’s carbon footprint at home, at work and the commute in between. She said transportation is responsible for the bulk of carbon emissions. Taking public transit or carpooling twice a week would significantly reduce a person’s carbon footprint.
“Since they are the end users, we want commuters to become engaged in the process of improving transportation,” he said.
Johanson said SEPTA will be adding nearly 500 hybrid buses to its fleet. The new bus technology will cut energy costs and reduce pollution.
To follow TMACC on Facebook and Twitter, click the links at the bottom of the TMACC website, tmacc.org. A commuter must become a Facebook ‘fan’ or ‘follow’ TMACC on Twitter to receive transportation news and to participate in discussions about local transportation issues.
Hittelman promoted vanpools as a transportation option for employees who are commuting from the same area. Ridesharing programs may provide some relief from congestions concerns and the overall cost of commuting.
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Transportation Management Association of Chester County Telephone (610) 993.0911 • Fax (610) 993.0922 www.tmacc.org ~ [email protected]
Executive Director - Michael E. [email protected]
.org Deputy Executive Director - Derrick Stokes..................................... [email protected]
Operations Manager - Paul DesRocher................................................paul @tmacc.org ADA Client Services Specialist - Angela [email protected]
Executive Administrator - Betty [email protected]
c.org Receptionist - Diane Minka.......[email protected]
tmacc.org Financial Services Administrator - Margaret [email protected]
The Transportation Management Association of Chester County is a non-profit corporation established to promote, educate and provide transportation and employment solutions for private industry and non-profit organizations.
Great Valley Corporate Center 7 Great Valley Parkway, Suite 144 Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355