This article was originally published on Philly.com.
by Rob Wonderling & Gregory A. Kelly
In anticipation of President Trump’s proposal to generate a trillion-dollar investment for our nation’s infrastructure, the CEO Council for Growth, a council of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, worked with public and private partners to develop a plan called “Connecting the Region: A Transportation Strategy for Greater Philadelphia.”
This strategic portfolio of interconnecting transportation projects identifies nine key infrastructure investment areas that are likely to accelerate development, catalyze job growth, and transform our region. The proposed strategy, which will enhance our region’s economy, mobility, and livability, is achievable within the next 10 years with a total cost of $7 billion to $9 billion.
Our strategy calls for improvements to our global gateways by investing in Intercity Rail Stations at 30th Street Station, Newark, and a new station at Philadelphia International Airport. It seeks to maximize the benefit of the Delaware River Deepening Project by improving direct access to Packer Avenue Marine Terminal at Interstate 95.
The economic core between Center City and University City continues to thrive due to the tremendous growth of our innovation, knowledge, and entrepreneurial economies. Our strategy emphasizes the advancement of the 30th Street District plan and Schuylkill Yards development. This bundle of projects includes improvements to I-76 ramps, Civic Center Boulevard, and the Schuylkill River bridges from University Avenue to Spring Garden Street. The addition of a Market-Frankford line station at 20th Street will support the continued growth of Center City to the west.
Our plan highlights development opportunities that expand the reach and depth of our transportation infrastructure system, which will unlock development and strengthen our communities. Extending the Norristown High-Speed Line and transforming Roosevelt Boulevard will bind King of Prussia and Northeast Philadelphia, respectively, back to our region. Expanded mass transit services at the Navy Yard, enhancements at Walter Rand Transportation Center and elsewhere in Camden, and the integration of neighborhoods currently divided by the Vine Street Expressway will reconnect isolated communities to opportunities for residential and commercial development.
Lastly, we call for investments that will adapt our existing transportation system to the needs of the next generation by expanding capacity along the Market-Frankford line and within the Regional Rail systems by procuring new train cars, extending platforms, and improving frequency.
These new transportation investments must be made to accommodate and accelerate our outstanding development. The future of our region rests in large part on our ability to both secure infrastructure spending and activate new, innovative ways to direct more local resources to help rebuild and strengthen our communities.
The CEO Council for Growth looks forward to working with the administration and our regional congressional delegation, representing northern Delaware, South Jersey, and Southeastern Pennsylvania, to pass a bipartisan infrastructure spending bill and secure fun