Protecting Public Assets Updates

Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Transparency in City Spending

Following our earlier studies of government spending at the state level, this report evaluates the progress of America’s 30 largest cities toward “Transparency 2.0” – a standard of encompassing, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility.

Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Transportation and the New Generation

From World War II until just a few years ago, the number of miles driven annually on America’s roads steadily increased. Then, at the turn of the century, something changed: Americans began driving less. By 2011, the average American was driving 6 percent fewer miles per year than in 2004.

With much fanfare and 854 days late, the U.S. House last week introduced bills to fund our nation's transportation system for the next five years. The new rules for spending $260 billion over five years would be tilted more toward highways with less going to buses, rail, biking and pedestrian trails. Given the nation's urgent need to reduce our addiction to oil, that in itself would have been a tragedy.

News Release | PennPIRG | Transportation

House Proposal Threatens to Defund Public Transportation

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 2 – “The House Ways and Means Committee proposal to deprive transit of a dedicated funding source is a reckless move that would take America in exactly the wrong direction.

News Release | PennPIRG | Transportation

Latest House Transportation Bill is a Step Backwards

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 1 – “America needs serious transportation reform. While the recent Senate transportation bill failed to move the ball forward on needed transportation reform, today’s House bill takes big strides in the wrong direction. And by funding future spending with revenue from increased oil drilling that won’t materialize for several years, it is clear that the House bill is just a political stunt.

 

Media Hit | Tax

Trib-Revue: Civic Arena property declared blighted

Even a desirable Pittsburgh neighborhood such as Shadyside could qualify as blighted under a 1945 state law used to get public money for economic development, a local preservationist says.

Red light camera testimony

By | Phineas Baxandall
Senior Analyst for Tax and Budget Policy

The analysis below discusses four types of public protections that should be included in any enabling legislation for red-light camera programs. We discuss specific recommendations for best practice, as compared to provisions in the Philadelphia Code and Senate Bill 595.

Media Hit | Budget, Transportation

Post-Gazette: Group urges caution in deploying red-light cameras

On the heels of the state Senate's passage of a bill allowing red-light enforcement cameras in Pittsburgh and 18 other cities, a public interest group has warned against using the cameras as cash cows rather than to promote safety.

Media Hit | Budget, Transportation

Inquirer: Despite warnings, Pa. Senate votes to expand red-light camera program

State and local governments should be wary of red-light camera systems because they can be used primarily as revenue schemes, not safety devices, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group said Thursday.

Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead

Before pursuing a camera system contract, local governments should heed the advice of the Federal Highway Administration and first investigate traffic engineering solutions for problem intersections or roadways. If officials decide that private enforcement systems are appropriate, they should avoid deals that constrain future decisions related to protecting safety. Privatized traffic law enforcement should be used solely as a tool for enhancing traffic safety, not as a cash cow for municipalities or private firms.

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