July 11: State Budget Drama | New Taxis | Italian Market Vendor Rules | Transit and Freedom | Spring Garden Tunnel of Terror

Happy Friday everyone! Here’s what we’re reading this morning. What else is on the agenda?

Governor Tom Corbett signed the $29.1 billion state budget passed by the legislature last week, but vetoed $72 million in spending – mostly operational spending for the legislature, and some of lawmakers’ district projects (see the list here.) Lawmakers are supposed to be in their districts until September, but Corbett wants to tempt them back to Harrisburg in August for a special session to restore their funding (they need a 2/3 majority to override his veto), and debate the Philadelphia cigarette tax and pension reform.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority agreed to create 45 new taxi medallions for disabled-accessible cabs. Taxi medallions go for about $500,000, and there are only 1,800 cabs in Philadelphia. This brings the total to 1,845.

Habitat for Humanity’s The Other Carpenter program is filling a gap in the city’s historic preservation efforts, says This Old City’s Katie Bohri. The program does about 50 home repair projects a year in the range of $1,200-5000. “Applicants must have a household income of 80% or below the Philadelphia median income, $34,207, according to 2011 census data. Those who will receive the repairs will pay for the cost of repairs in installments and sweat equity.”

Michael Noda at Sic Transit Philadelphia couldn’t resist blogging on his honeymoon, but so much the better for us as his tale of trying to use East Glacier, Montana’s transit to get a sudden neck rash checked out contains an important lesson: “We need to encourage the growth of freedom by increasing the usefulness of transit in smart ways. The best and easiest way is to grow frequency.”

Albert Stumm at the Passyunk Post says there’s a push to clarify the right-of-way in the Italian Market, over what’s vendor space and what’s a travel lane. Councilman Squilla’s office is in the process of dealing with this and fixing some of the antiquated vending rules that are holding back more of the stands from getting filled. It’s worth asking: given the intensity of pedestrian activity, should cars even be allowed in the Italian Market?

Heads up: A Philebrity reader says the Streets Department’s construction signs appear to be confusing people, directing them into the Spring Garden Tunnel the wrong way. Do not do this.

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