Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Few Updates

Back from a not so wonderful weekend away and catching up on the news. There is a cluster of updates to items I have previously blogged about. Here you go:

In 2005 State Rep. Josh Shapiro (D-153) introduced a bill that allowed college students to more easily transfer credits from one state college to another (2005 blog post here). The bill passed and has been having an impact on colleges and college students in the area. See "Transfers get credit for record enrollment," by Jan Murphy / Patriot News 10/11/09.

The number of students who transferred into the 14 state universities, many of them from community colleges, illustrates how a state law is making it easier for students to transfer credits from one college to another.

The 14 state universities enrolled 7,494 transfer students this year, up from 6,717 last year. Nearly 42 percent of them came from community colleges.

There could be a number of reasons for transfers to have increased this year but the law simplifying the transfer process has probably played a significant role.

In 2007 State Rep Bryan Lentz (D-161) introduced a bill to establish a regional airport authority, with the intention of lessening the congestion at the Philadelphia airport. The bill did not pass. He has introduced a similar bill recently, but this one includes wording to coordinate with rail traffic:
The legislation would establish a Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Airport Authority to create a regional approach to planning and operations among the area’s airports and airfields. The authority also would be required to enter into cooperative agreements with neighboring state authorities in New Jersey and Delaware, and coordinate planning and investment with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority and Amtrak.

Lentz's bill has a new provision that would mandate that the specifically coordinated planning include incorporating high-speed rail improvements as an alternative to airport expansion. The Brookings Institute recently released a report, which found in part that half of all flights in the United States were on routes of less than 500 miles. Lentz said congestion on these routes can be relieved by high-speed rail development and improvement. That would include routes from Philadelphia International Airport to Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., New York, and as far as Boston.

"Philadelphia International Airport continues to be one of the most overcrowded, overused airports in the nation, while nearby airports like Lehigh Valley, Wilmington in Delaware and Atlantic City are practically dormant," Lentz said. "I've heard reports that about 25 to 30 percent of Lehigh Valley residents use the Philadelphia airport. People are literally driving past their local airport to fly out of Philadelphia. We need a plan to maximize use of existing air fields and other modes of transportation, including Amtrak and the development of high-speed rail."

Earlier this year Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-08)played a charity basketball game with other congressmen. He broke his nose in the game and kept playing. He's not noticeably tall but he must have been working on those dribbling skills because he was recently asked to play with the president. You can read the details at "Congressmen hoop it up with Obama," by Thomas Fitzgerald, Inky 10/10/09. Here is an excerpt
"I popped a 3-pointer when the president was guarding me, and I talked a little smack," Murphy, a Bucks County Democrat, said. "I told him I was going to take it easy on him."

That move may have brought a run of bad luck. "I didn't have a single shot drop," Murphy said. "I shouldn't have said anything."

The congressmen took the first game but dropped the next three as they played for about 90 minutes.

No comments: