March 30: Energy hub boosters mount pipeline campaign | Medicaid and supportive housing | Night Mayor

Energy hub proponents are in full campaign mode, with a new “quasi-political primer” making the case for tri-state public investment in a natural gas pipeline to Philadelphia, reports Andrew Maykuth. “[Philadelphia Energy Action Team chair Phil] Rinaldi acknowledged that the campaign was slowed by last year’s plunge in energy prices, which has reduced the appetite for investors in new energy projects. But he said a compelling case can still be made for pushing forward.” StateImpact’s Susan Phillips points out that pipelines already are not taxed in Pennsylvania, like they are in New Jersey. 

Alan Heavens checks in on the building boom in the neighborhoods northeast of Center City, and puts some numbers to the population growth in Fishtown and Kensington. “In 2010, 19125 had a population of about 22,900; today, it is estimated at 24,000 and will likely reach 25,000 in 2021. In 19122, a 2010 population of 21,500 is up to nearly 23,000 today and is forecast to close in on 24,000 by 2021.

Johnny Doc’s drone army is grounded, pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, reports Bobby Allyn. Frank Keel, spokesman for IBEW Local 98, says the union wants to use drones to document unlicensed competitors.”Keel had originally said that the drones could assist in ferreting out undocumented immigrants from construction sites, a statement that garnered heat from activist groups, who called it thinly veiled racial profiling. It was a misstatement, Keel says now.”

Rana Fayez makes the case for Jim Kenney to appoint a ‘Night Mayor’ who would be in charge of growing and managing the city’s nighttime economy. She talks to Alison Harnden, who recently was appointed Pittsburgh’s first Night-time Economy Coordinator about her goal of turning Pittsburgh into a ‘sociable city.’

Could Pennsylvania tap Medicaid funds for supportive housing? Taunya English reports advocates are meeting this week in Philadelphia to discuss piloting a program similar to initiatives in Louisiana and Texas, and Liz Hersh, Jim Kenney’s director of Supportive Housing is a big proponent. Read her Q&A with PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey. 

“For a long time cities supported large scale annexations, consolidations, and regional tax sharing were conventional wisdom, in part because it was seen that declining central cities would benefit from them,” but that calculus is changing as the future brightens for urban core areas across the US, writes Aaron Renn.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.