January 25: Trump infrastructure priorities, financing advice | GOP in Philly

The Nor’easter winds have tamed down today, with partial clouds and warmish weather in the 50s. The outlook for today:

Trump’s team has compiled a list of 50 infrastructure projects nationwide, totaling at least $137.5 billion, as the new administration tries to determine its investment priorities, the McClatchy Washington Bureau reports. In the document, half of the proposed funding for the projects would come from private investment. Locally 15 bridges on I-95 are on the list. The National Governors Association circulated a similar list, based on more than 300 project suggestions compiled for the transition team back in December. 

The president’s plans to update America’s infrastructure will rely enticing private investors.Though public-private partnerships have helped finance or service many cities’ public transportation, including Hong Kong’s heralded MTR and London’s now dismantled Underground experiment, this financial tool for infrastructure is relatively new in the States. Motivate (the parent company of Citi Bike and 10 other bike-shares across North America) CEO Jay Walder, has decades of experience on both the public and private side of transportation and shares some of his wisdom and cautions for the new administration with NextCity.

On the first major stop since the inauguration, the President and the entire Republican congressional delegation will be in Philadelphia for the GOP retreat at the PSFS Loews on Thursday. Advocates will be there, with organized protests surrounding the Affordable Care Act, LGBTQ rights, and immigrant rights, as well as retreat-related workshops all over the city.

In his first week, Trump is ready to make sweeping and immediate changes to the nation’s immigration system. The Washington Post reports that the president plans to sign executive orders Wednesday enabling construction of his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and targeting cities where local leaders refuse to hand over illegal immigrants for deportation. Discussions are ongoing for some of the other policies that Trump proposed on the campaign trail, including reversing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, new visa procedures to people from Muslim-majority countries (including Iraq, Iran and Somalia), and Syrian refugee program.

Last night, Toll Bros. unveiled renderings for its proposed 29-story tower replacing five buildings on Jewelers’ Row at a Washington Square West Civic Association meeting. Preservation activists, the general public, and even the Mayor have expressed concerns about how the 115-unit development would impact the neighborhood’s historic nature, though many property owners and businesses on Sansom Street support it. Jacob Adelman reports that Mayor Kenney said he believes “Toll Bros. remains committed to maintaining Jewelers Row as a historical, cultural gem.” Hy Goldberg, who owns Safian & Rudolph and runs the Jewelers Row Business Association told Adelman that he and most other property owners on the street now embrace the plan too. The proposal must next go before Philadelphia’s nonbinding Civic Design Review board. 

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