March 31: Art Museum groundbreaking | Councilmembers raised $2 million in 2016 | PA Wage Change

Hard hats on! The Philadelphia Museum of Art broke ground on the underground expansion designed by starchitect Frank Gehry yesterday. NewsWorks’ Peter Crimmins reports that just over 60 percent of the budgeted at $233 million of the core project has been raised, which the board determined is enough to start shoveling. The core project will take an estimated three years and will remain invisible from the street and skyline. The museum expects to stay open throughout construction.

City Council members collectively fundraised “nearly $2 million in political donations during an election year in which no council member was up for re-election,” reported Philadelphia Weekly’s Max Marin and City & State’s Ryan Briggs. Marin and Briggs review how much each council member raised and spent in the 2016.

DC Metro union ATU 689 made a push for a flat fare system this week, a semi-frequent topic of discussion as the city revisits alternative systems to “the current, complicated fare structure that requires looking up fares in a huge table.” Greater Greater Washington examines the significant differences between DC Metro and other subway and regional rail systems in America, including PATCO and SEPTA, arguing that while Philly has a similarly sized Metropolitan Statistical Area, technology, the structure of the cities, and the transit systems themselves affect why a flat fare may not work for DC

National discourse on “the federally-mandated wage is one reason for the seemingly intractable quagmire of the dissipating middle class,” according to the Philadelphia Citizen. Unlike other U.S. cities that have minimum wages ranging from $11 to $15, Philadelphia mirrors the federal hourly rate with $7.25 per hour. Quinn O’Callaghan looks into Wage Change, the movement to upend the current minimum wage in Pennsylvania.

The CDFI Bond Guarantee Program (BGP), the newest program of the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund, is the currently the only source of long-term, fixed-rate capital for community development. Next City covers several projects across the country that have benefited from BDG, one of the few remaining programs under the CDFI Fund that is “authorized by separate legislation outside the federal budget” and “crucially designed to operate with zero subsidy from taxpayers.” For a quick briefer on federal cuts to the CDFI Fund, Forbes provides an overview on how CDFIs impacts small businesses.

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