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  • Red light camera testimony | PennPIRG
    city s permit for installing a traffic signal but they fail to make it possible to extend the yellow light duration beyond that time Does it focus on the problem Any camera ticketing should focus on deterring the type of red light running that has caused injuries at that particular intersection Otherwise a traffic camera can be judged as inappropriately being used as a revenue generator rather than a safety enhancement This would be the case for instance if the city disproportionately issues tickets for right turn on red violations at an intersection where right turns have not been a major cause of injuries Neither the Philadelphia Code nor Senate Bill 595 require such consideration Is it effective Once created programs should come under regular review to assess whether red light cameras are reducing injuries and fatalities The evaluation should be made without regard to the amount of revenue that cameras generate Both the Philadelphia Code and Senate Bill 595 mandate regular reporting but neither dictates that a program should be terminated if evidence fails to indicate improved safety 2 Red light camera contracts must not create additional incentives to issue more tickets People respond to financial incentives Therefore legislation should forbid contract incentives for vendors that are based directly or indirectly on the volume of tickets or fines Rewarding contractors for placing more fines on drivers will undermine public confidence in the program Loss of public trust may further undermine societal compliance with traffic laws Compliance ultimately depends more on broad beliefs about the fairness and usefulness of traffic laws rather than calculations about the likelihood of receiving a fine Pennsylvania knows all too well how incentives for private enrichment can distort decisions about law enforcement The recent conviction in Luzerne County of judge Mark A Ciavarella Jr for sentencing children to juvenile detention in return for 2 6 million in payments from the private detention center is a painful reminder of the potential for abuse Therefore it is beneficial that Senate Bill 595 expressly forbid public payments based on the volume of tickets and requires that payment be accorded based on the value of equipment and services provided Likewise greater separation between safety decisions and revenue implications is accomplished by sharing municipal revenues with the state The municipal share is split with the state in the Senate bill with a maximum of 5 percent of the annual municipal budget These mandates partially dilute the incentive to issue tickets for revenue 3 Public officials should retain control over transportation policy decisions including the ability to withdraw from a contract early if dissatisfied with the service or its effects Public control of red light ticketing has been seriously compromised in other states where companies have issued lawsuits or when contract terms enable companies to levy financial penalties on municipalities if too few tickets are issued For instance the camera vendor American Traffic Solution last week announced a law suit against Knoxville Tennessee because the city no longer issues citations to

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/blog/pap/red-light-camera-testimony (2016-04-27)
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  • Hundreds of Local Businesses Endorse More and Better Public Transportation | PennPIRG
    owner of several local restaurants as well as a real estate business said Most of my employees at Trolley Car Diner in Mt Airy and Trolley Car Café in East Falls get to work everyday via public transportation Without reliable buses and trains I would have a hard time operating my business and attracting quality staff He added Fewer buses and train routes and less reliable public transportation services would leave my restaurants empty Public transit is an excellent investment for any elected official who is trying to increase government revenues and provide more jobs Of the hundreds of businesses endorsing PennPIRG s transportation principles 96 of them are in the city of Philadelphia Businesses from all over the city and hundreds more in the suburbs all expressed a need for improved transportation in their area Kim Agnew from Sage Realty in Wayne said Proximity to the regional rail is a key selling feature for selling homes on the Main Line The regional rail throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania allows commuters to easily go back and forth to Philadelphia and between other suburban towns Weinstein of PhillyOfficeRetail com echoed this sentiment saying Most of our properties are adjacent to public transportation a need that will become more apparent as oil and gas prices continue to escalate And in Media Monika Rehoric of Kenny s Flowers reiterated the importance of public transportation on the local small business economy She projected If we were to have funding cut backs to the local trolley buses or trains there would be a significant loss of jobs and consumers If anything there should be increased services and incentives to encourage more people to use public transportation Rehoric also explained the frustration of delayed bridge repair lamenting driving miles out of her way because of a bridge in Media that s been decommissioned for the past 13 years She concluded For too long our government has not addressed our crumbling infrastructure Without state funding for transportation much needed improvements in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties will remain stalled forcing roads and bridges to close while trains buses and trolley lines fall into disrepair This bleak scenario includes extreme delays fare increases and more cars forced onto already congested roads Already miles of roads throughout the county are riddled with potholes while dozens of bridges are deemed structurally deficient and in need of immediate repair Additionally public transportation services are not being improved nor expanded to keep up with steadily increasing ridership Tens of millions of dollars in repairs on SEPTA regional rail lines station improvements and bus maintenance throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania will be canceled because of state cuts to the transportation budget This includes deferring the Exton and Paoli Station construction plans while other stations like that in Coatesville continue to crumble from years of neglect The proposed Ardmore Station improvements including a new high level platform wheelchair accessibility and a new station building have recently been eliminated due to lack of funding Furthermore much needed new SEPTA

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/hundreds-local-businesses-endorse-more-and-better-public-transportation (2016-04-27)
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  • HB 3: Public-Private Partnernship Legislative Position Paper | PennPIRG
    harm to the private entity This is too broad of a definition of when the Right to Know law may be ignored and should be deleted Truly confidential information such as bank account numbers should not be disclosed If a development entity seeks an injunction from a judge to prevent public scrutiny it must be for a temporary time and a strong case must be made to overcome a strong burden of proof favoring public transparency The bill also allows the Department of Transportation and a would be newly established board the Public Private Transportation Partnership Board to approve public private transportation partnerships without consent from the legislature Neither of these offices would be directly accountable to the public The Secretary of the Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth is appointed as would be the members of the board Decisions about huge sums of money tax like user fees and multi decade control of vital public infrastructure are too important to be decided without approval by elected representatives accountable to the people The final terms of any sizable public private partnership agreements that are reviewed by either the Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth or the Public Private Transportation Partnership board should be required to be approved by the General Assembly Moreover Section 9107 subsection b limits the term of a public private transportation partnership but places the upper bounds of such a deal at 99 years The longer a deal the greater the potential risks to the public and the more difficult to anticipate and place a dollar value on those risks Ninety nine years is far too long The limit for public private transportation partnership terms should be decreased to 30 years the length of a long housing mortgage and commensurate with typical length in other countries where public private partnerships are more common Ensure fair value and reduce risks for the public The bill fails to provide procedures that would ensure fair value for the public Public private partnerships in Chicago Texas and other places have been found to provide far too little value to the public compared to the large fees charged over decades to the public by the development entity The federal General Accountability Office has determined that public private toll road entities for instance will typically charge higher tolls on the same project than would a public entity Texas Department of Transportation has confirmed that tolls will necessarily be higher with a public private partnership The Commonwealth must not allow short term desperation for budgetary funds to be a cause for budget gimmicks that the public will pay too dearly for over decades In order to prevent the public from getting a raw deal any significantly sized public private partnership should be assessed by an independent auditor that would not directly or indirectly benefit from the public private partnership The auditing entity should determine whether the public is clearly gaining additional net value as a result of the entire life of the proposed partnership

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/blog/pap/hb-3-public-private-partnernship-legislative-position-paper (2016-04-27)
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  • Small Businesses Support 21st Century Transportation | PennPIRG
    Mission Pharmacal Company Beans Beauty Siren Records Chapman Gallery Steak and Hoagie Factory L A D Co Monkey s Uncle Shaving Grace Barbers Lynda Berry Photography Lansdowne Larry Pitt Associates Galaxy Wireless Lansdowne Fire Department Regency Cafe State Farm Insurance Provisions Life More Abundant Bobby s Gentlemen s Hairstyling Antenucci Bros Auto Center Lansdowne Family Dental Care Center Agustina s Dominican Style Spa and Salon Victory Tax and Financial Sol Big Tree Tax Aton s Medical Supply Marcus Hook Andrea s Attic Mikes Pizza M B Associates Marcus Hook News Star Hotel Marcus Hook Florist Marcus Hook Hardware Fresh n Fancy Laundry Lefty s Pub Seafood Connection Media Media Motors Inc O Mally s Ice Cream Pub Pennies Pounds Pesos Quincy s Marquet Basquet Gifts Koffee Korner Fitness Together Earth and State Seven Stones Baggot and Bak Untours Zac s Hamburgers Senior Victim Services Four Paw Shoppe B Gross Menswear ConTech Services Inc Morroni Technologies Azie Restaurant Kenny s Flower Shoppe Values Into Action Deals Store Selene Whole Foods Co Op Baker Printing Salad Stop Lipton Weinberger Husick Planet Hoagie Sorella Boutique Sporting Gentleman Starry Eyed Optical Coffee Club John s Place John s Grille Pacific Computer Inc Gibbons Automotive Custom Bagels Inc W F Beardsley Silver Goldsmith Mrs Marty s Deli Restaurant Turning Point Gallery Coffee Beanery Morton Springfield Suds N Soda Old Havana Cigar Co United Check Cashing Alfredo Restaurant Spinal Correction Chiropractic Budget Printing Center Pandolfi House of Carpet New Hope Savioni Designer Boutique Fred Eisen Leather A Mano MyYearbook com The Jonathan Rice Collection La Bella Vita Dominique Daniela Mechanic Street Mugs Whatever s Hot New Hope Window Cleaning Service New Hope Sidetracks Art Gallery Heart of The Home Yogini Bloom LLC Strawberry Jam Inc Suzie s Hot Sauce Type B Tie Dye Studios Five Days After Cryers Hardware LLC Solebury Silver Co Zikos Jewelers Inc House of India Shop of India Against the Grain Mystical Tymes New Hope Apparel Trading Post Gem Zone LLC Randolph and Main Burch and Jones Jewelers Inc Made in Italy Churchtown Post Wine of Bucks County Newtown Countryside Framing Lynn Coffee Beans Teas Neds Cigar Café Con Leche Frank DeRito Men s Clothing Angel Hearts 3D Printing and Digital Imaging The Nest Newton Design Group North Wales Tex Mex Connection Nettie Jones Bakery North Wales Running Co Simply Good Café Tony s Pizza Tina s Dogworks Paoli Paoli Rug Co Paoli Print and Copy Runaway Success Spring House Window and Door Whirled Peace Frozen Yogurt Paoli Beverage Le Saigon Paoli News Agency J A Farmers Market Martini s Italian Market Philadelphia Seafood Unlimited Liberty Framing Trolley Car Diner Cafe Wrap Shack Rittenhouse Square Fitness Devil s Alley Restaurant Square Peg Artery and Salvage 18th Street Apothecary White Dog Cafe Petulia s Folly Venture Inn Coeur Inc Govinda s Cut Hair Salon Bundy H A Eberhardt Son Antiques Dolce Carini Taws Can Do Lee s Hoagie House JE LimeBurner Co The Gables Bed and Breakfast The Gables Bed and Breakfast Morris

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/blog/pap/small-businesses-support-21st-century-transportation (2016-04-27)
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  • Mad Men Make Online Pitch for High Speed Rail | PennPIRG
    driving The video is set in the offices of a fictitious 60 s era advertising agency as the two make their best pitch for high speed rail As Harry tells Pete in the video America always makes the right investments Trains are the most efficient most economical best investment But honestly I think you can relax on this whole thing I read that in 40 years gas is going to be almost a dollar a gallon he adds The video comes at a time when high speed rail debate is heating up throughout the country and in Congress President Obama recently pledged more than 50 billion in federal funding over the next six years and announced a goal in his State of the Union to connect 80 percent of the country with high speed rail in the next 25 years House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica R FL has been a supporter of high speed rail while his governor in Florida and the Governors of Ohio in Wisconsin have rejected billions in federal funds for projects in their states It s a simple pitch high speed rail saves oil and gives people a more efficient alternative to the hassles of flying and driving said Alana Miller of PennPIRG Even 40 years ago it would have been a no brainer Click here to watch Mad Fast Trains Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/mad-men-make-online-pitch-high-speed-rail (2016-04-27)
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  • Pennsylvania should proceed with caution when it comes to privatizing its infrastructure | PennPIRG
    75 year lease of the Indiana Toll Road which was completed in 2006 for 3 85 billion The state s governor bragged that it would fund a 10 year highway program but decades later drivers still will be paying inflated tolls with none of the money supporting public projects Some economists estimate that the private company will pay off its investment by year 20 with 55 more years of almost pure profit Other experts estimate that in order to support the higher borrowing costs and profit margins of private toll roads in general tolls must be 30 percent higher As the independent Finance Scholars Group pointed out during the parking debate in Pittsburgh Unless the concessionaire has the ability to generate significantly more cash flow from the assets than the city can generate by charging higher rates it is unlikely that the city will realize its full value of the assets through a long term lease Throughout the parking controversy last year the city controller showed that instead of privatizing its parking assets the city could generate a better upfront payoff by transferring meters and garages to the public parking authority which can raise capital at lower interest rates than the private sector using tax free bonds Such alternatives always should be examined alongside privatization proposals Pennsylvania and its local governments should consider private deals to repair or construct new roads bridges or other infrastructure only if strong public protections are guaranteed The public should retain control over decisions about planning and management and must receive full value for assets No deal should last longer than 30 years because of uncertainty over future conditions Complete transparency and public disclosure are essential and legislators should be required to approve the final terms of any sizeable deal What is good for a

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/media/pap/pennsylvania-should-proceed-caution-when-it-comes-privatizing-its-infrastructure (2016-04-27)
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  • Private Roads, Public Costs | PennPIRG
    Indiana and is a critical link between Chicago and the eastern United States o The Chicago Skyway which links downtown Chicago with the Indiana Toll Road o California s SR 91 Express Lanes which were originally built by a private entity to provide a speedier connection between Orange and Riverside counties Though privatization may offer short term relief to transportation budget woes it often has grave implications for the public The public will not receive full value for its future toll revenues The upfront payments that states receive are often worth far less than the value of future toll revenue from the road Analysis of the Indiana and Chicago deals found that private investors would recoup their investments in less than 20 years Given that these deals are for 75 and 99 years respectively the public clearly received far less for their assets than they are truly worth The public loses control over transportation policy Private road concessions in particular result in a more fragmented road network less ability to prevent toll traffic from being diverted into local communities and often the requirement to compensate private operators for actions that reduce traffic on the road such as constructing or upgrading a nearby competing transportation facility Public officials cannot ensure that privatization contracts will be fair and effective when leases last for multiple generations No army of lawyers and accountants can fully anticipate future public needs Transurban for example has control over the Pocahontas Parkway in Virginia for 99 years In order to protect the public interest public officials must adhere to six basic principles in all road privatization agreements The public should retain control over decisions about transportation planning and management The public must receive fair value so future toll revenues are not be sold off at a discount No

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/private-roads-public-costs (2016-04-27)
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  • Blog | PennPIRG
    its latest cattle call markup of a package of industry backed bills designed to weaken consumer taxpayer depositor and investor protections We ve signed a letter opposing the so called TAILOR Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operation Risk Act which piles redundant requirements onto the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other regulators to do what they already do by existing law treat small banks and credit unions differently than mega banks Also the PIRG backed Americans for Financial Reform sent up a letter opposing the TAILOR Act and 6 more of the 10 bills on the agenda because they are designed to weaken consumer taxpayer depositor and investor protections Financial Reform Read more about We oppose latest effort to weaken CFPB other bank regulators 100 Groups Oppose Provisions That Threaten Public Protections Monday February 8 2016 By Mike Litt Consumer Program Advocate The White House is expected to release its fiscal year 2017 budget proposal tomorrow U S PIRG and various state PIRGs joined a coalition of more than 100 groups that sent the following letter calling on President Barack Obama and all 535 members of Congress to oppose any federal appropriations bill that contains ideological policy riders Consumer Protection Financial Reform Read more about 100 Groups Oppose Provisions That Threaten Public Protections Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next last More Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blog?page=1 (2016-04-27)
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