DRPA stops spending toll revenues on economic development

    In a spending spree that began in the early 90’s the DRPA put nearly 400 million dollars into the Kimmel Center, the Barnes museum, new stadiums and other projects. The board voted Wednesday to focus instead on its bridges and PATCO.

    One of the changes made by the embattled Delaware River Port Authority this week was a prohibition on using bridge toll funds for economic development projects. But the issue isn’t so easily resolved.

    In a spending spree that began in the early 90’s the DRPA put nearly 400 million dollars into the Kimmel Center, the Barnes museum, new stadiums and other projects.

    The board voted Wednesday to focus instead on its bridges and PATCO. But one member, Philadelphia Councilman Frank DiCicco said he’s glad the DRPA got worthy civic projects off the ground

    DiCicco: People from both sides of the river have benefited from that development. Permanent jobs have been created as a result of that. Many if not all of those projects could never have been done with private dollars.

    The board’s resolution isn’t an ironclad ban on funding economic development, and the agency’s enabling laws have permitted such spending since 1992. But with a dollar toll increase planned for July, it’s clear the board will be pinching pennies for a while.

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