Scranton, Wilkes-Barre Area Roads Among Bottom Third In Mid-Sized Cities Nationally

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A national research group ranked the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area’s roads among the bottom third of the nation’s mid-sized cities.

More specifically, TRIP ranked both cities and the surrounding suburban areas 17th worst among 62 urban regions with populations between 250,000 and 500,000.

Thirty-two percent of the region’s roads are “in poor condition and provide a rough ride,” according to the report that TRIP released Thursday.

The average motorist in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area pays $539 annually in vehicle maintenance costs related to the substandard roads, which TRIP ranked 18th nationally.

Read more:

Pa. May Pull Back On Funding For Redevelopment Projects

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s most sweeping economic development programs could see a limited spending cap and permanent guidelines under a recently passed proposal.

The state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (often called “R-Cap”) provides grants with borrowed money for private projects pursued by municipalities and local agencies.

That could include hospital expansions, parking garages or community centers — any project with a cultural, civic or historical connection that could create jobs and be tied to economic development.

But the program is often criticized as a questionable source of ballooning debt.

RACP’s debt ceiling is $4.05 billion, about 10 times what it was when it was created in 1986.

Read more:

Corbett Expected To Seek Tax Hike For Transporation

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett is preparing to unveil a transportation plan funded primarily by nearly $2 billion a year in new taxes on gas stations, sources familiar with the plan told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The Republican governor, who pledged not to raise taxes when he ran for office, will announce the fine points of the long-awaited initiative next week, the sources told the AP on the condition they not be identified.

Read more:

Bipartisan Effort Shapes Action On City Distress Issues

HARRISBURG – While the city of Scranton struggles daily with cash-flow problems, key state lawmakers see any unveiling of comprehensive legislative proposals to help fiscally distressed cities as being months away.

A rollout of bills is anticipated early next year with the start of the new legislative session, said Sen. John Eichelberger, R-30, Hollidaysburg, chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee.

A bipartisan group in the Senate and House is working on a host of related issues, including an overhaul of the Act 47 program for fiscally distressed municipalities, municipal pension benefits, collective bargaining for public employees and the role of nonprofit institutions clustered in cities.

Since four legislative committees held joint hearings last fall on the future of Act 47, lawmakers involved in the effort to find solutions to the problems cities face with eroding tax bases and increased demand for services have emphasized its bipartisan nature.

Read more: