The Pennsylvania State Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill on Tuesday that would withhold state money from so-called “Sanctuary Cities” in Pennsylvania—a move that, among many other things, could affect bicycle infrastructure and additional road safety measures in Philadelphia.
By a vote of 37-12, a bipartisan group of lawmakers passed the defunding bill, which could result in the loss of $638 million for Philadelphia, which has been declared a “sanctuary city” in recent years—meaning the municipality does not cooperate with the federal government in prosecuting undocumented workers for violating federal immigration laws, and providing those people with city services.
In Pennsylvania, at least 19 municipalities have made this declaration, mostly for humanitarian reasons. This issue has come under scrutiny in recent days due to President Donald Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration. Trump recently signed an executive order which attempted to block legal immigrants from entering the United States, and in some cases families were detained for up to 19 hours, and children have been put in handcuffs at airports.
But what does the Senate’s move mean for Philadelphia? Right now, nothing. The bill now goes to the state House where it can be debated and brought up for a vote before potentially arriving on Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.
Wolf has already said, through a spokesperson, that he has problems with the legislation.
But keeping all state funds from Philadelphia (if that is actually the intention of the legislation, the language of which is incredibly vague), would also affect PennDOT and the Commonwealth Financing Authority multimodal fund. DCNR grants could also be affected.
The city has received several of these in recent years, which have gone toward transportation improvements.
In 2016 alone, Philadelphia received over $12 milion in state funds for bicycle/pedestrian projects. See below for a list of Philly projects funded through state grants.
Philadelphia Delaware River City Corporation — Baxter Trail $250,000 CFA-Act 13
Philadelphia Delaware River City Corporation — K&T Trail $150,000 CFA-Act 13
Philadelphia Delaware River City Corporation —North Delaware Riverfront Greenway Master Plan Update $125,000 CFA-Act 13
Philadelphia Philadelphia Parks and Recreation — MLK Drive Trail $500,000 DCNR
Philadelphia Righters Ferry Association — The River Trail at 600 Righters Ferry Road $250,000 CFA-Act 13
Philadelphia Schuylkill Banks — Bartrams to 61st St. Eng. & Const $900,000 CFA MM
Philadelphia Schuylkill River Development Corporation — Schuylkill Crossing and Grays Ferry $175,000 CFA-Act 13
Philadelphia Schuylkill River Development Corporation — Schuylkill River Trail South Street to Christian Street $911,637 PennDOT MM
Philadelphia Schuylkill River Development Corporation — Schuylkill River Trail South Street to Christian Street $225,000 CFA-Act 13
Philadelphia Schuylkill River Development Corporation —Bratram’s Mile to Passyunk Point Land Acq., Remediation, & Const. $1,500,000 PA RACP*
Philadelphia Schuylkill River Development Corporation — Christian to Grays Ferry Crescent, study $400,000 DCNR
Philadelphia Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia — CHOP Schuylkill Avenue Pedestrian Bridge Project $1,000,000 CFA MM
Philadelphia Philadelphia Parks and Recreation — Kelly Drive/Fairmount Park Rehabilitation Project $180,000 CFA-Act 13
Philadelphia Delaware River Waterfront Corporation — Spring Garden Street Connector Project $800,000 CFA MM
Philadelphia City of Philadelphia — Mantua Greenway $100,000
Philadelphia Friends of the Wissahickon — Valley Green Road Pedestrian Trail $225,000
Philadelphia City of Philadelphia Streets Department — Philadelphia Bicycle Facilities $400,000 CFA MM
Philadelphia Penn’s Landing — Multmodal Acccessibility Improvement Project $625,000 CFA MM
Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities — City of Philadelphia Bike Share Program $300,000 CFA MM
Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities — Expanding Philadelphia’s Bike Share Program $799,585 CFA MM
Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities — Philadelphia’s Bike Share Program $102,764 CFA MM
Philadelphia ARLE Round 6 – $2,800,000 ARLE
2016 Total for bike/ped projects $12,718,986
If you’re concerned about this bill, you can contact your state representative. Find your representative in the House by clicking here.