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May 14: SEPTA: Norristown HSL repairs, other needs remain dire, deferred | new Amtrak locomotives | Possible City project | continue 10-year tax abatement | 13 luxe homes for Logan Square

Good morning, Streeters and happy Tuesday.

In transportation news:

PlanPhilly’s Christine Fisher has an update today about SEPTA’s critical deferred repair projects: In July crews will make critical (but temporary) repairs to the Bridgeport Viaduct on the Norristown High Speed Line, but there is not yet a plan to address a handful of SEPTA’s other critical repair projects.

If you need a refresher on the big picture: The May issue of Progressive Railroading has a good overview of SEPTA’s long list of state-of-good-repair projects and the agency’s serious funding needs to update and maintain the legacy rail system.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Amtrak unveiled its first three new electric locomotives, which will run regular trains along the Northeast Corridor and the Keystone Line between New York and Harrisburg. Amtrak has purchased 70 of these new electric locomotives, dubbed Amtrak Cities Sprinter Locomotives, from Siemens.

In development news:

What if solutions to the city’s vacant land problems were more participatory and creative? That’s the hope of The Possible City, Philly’s only finalist in the Knight News Challenge, reports Technically Philly.

The 10-year tax abatement has not outlived its utility because Philadelphia’s construction costs remain high, writes Tom Ferrick in his Publius column on Axis Philly. The abatement helps offset the imbalance between Philadelphia’s high construction costs and the low prices that new construction commands here. Ferrick reminds us that on average Philly’s construction costs are high relative to our fellow big cities because of union labor.

Naked Philly checks in on a luxury construction boomlet in the Logan Square neighborhood. Part of the old Please Touch Museum at 21st and Race is coming down to make way for “eight new ultra high-end homes” and five more will be built over on 22nd where a parking garage now stands.

The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along. 

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