April 7: CA cap-and-trade holds | Uber pays $3.5M to PA | Conrail and Kenney admin feud over heroin camp

A California appeals court has voted to uphold the state’s cap-and-trade program designed to fight global warming, preserving the only program of its kind in the country. The California Chamber of Commerce sued to block the auctions four years ago, claiming that the program constituted an illegal tax. By auctioning off pollution permits, the program has generated billions of dollars that are earmarked for projects that reduce emissions, including financing a high-speed rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The law will expire in 2020, opening debates on whether to cap the cap-and-trade program in the future.

Uber will pay $3.5 million into Pennsylvania’s general fund to settle a long-running dispute with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), Keystone Crossroads’ Margaret J. Krauss reports. The “intense, complex, and contentious” case began in 2014, when Uber “operated for six months without a license, and a month after a cease-and-desist order.” State Commissioners disagree on whether the penalty is too high or low, taking into consideration that Lyft settled with the PUC for $250,000 in 2015, while Uber did not and has continued to ruffle feathers as the company tested out its autonomous vehicle technology in Pittsburgh.

Mayor Kenney has publicly urged Conrail to step up its efforts to address the opioid crisis in Kensington. After criticizing the rail agency’s current maintenance around 2nd Street and Indiana Avenue, the Mayor is using the weight of L&I to issue property maintenance violations around Conrail’s tracks, the Inquirer’s David Gambacorta reports. The City and the rail agency had previously agreed to jointly take on a block-by-block plan to eliminate heroin hotspot, in which Conrail would remove and dispose of needles, hazardous materials, debris, and overgrown vegetation, and repair and install fences, while the City would “haul away and dispose of nonhazardous materials, increase police patrols in the area, secure the four bridges that cross the rail line, and add barriers on sidewalks.” NewsWorks Tonight’s Dave Heller spoke with Managing Director Mike DiBerardinis on the subject this week.

SEPTA’s Key card’s piecemeal rollout is slowly picking up steam. The Travel Wallet “are in the hands of about 63,000 riders, more than 10 percent of transit ridership,” Jason Laughlin reports. SEPTA still has a long way to go, though: the Key system has cost more than $220 million so far, and the transit authority still has to work on fixing the kiosks and website and has yet to begun work on building an app. For the history of SEPTA Key’s hiccup-laden journey check out PlanPhilly’s SEPTA Key coverage

The National League of Cities and the International Economic Development Council have released an update to their 2010 guide “10 Things You Should Know: The Role of Elected Officials in Economic Development.” The report 2.0 discusses the context and key functions of local economic development and lays out strategies for local municipalities to build “strong, adaptive and equitable local economies.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has approved $768.2 million to 40 states to help repair roads and bridges that have been damaged after major disasters. Several states are slated to receive significant chunks of the funds—Colorado $124 million, California $105 million, and South Carolina $79 million for repair work following catastrophic damage from recent storms, while Mississippi received $13 million and Georgia $10 million in federal aid.

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