What Governor-elect Wolf would do to fix Pennsylvania’s cities

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     Pennsylvania Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf  greets people at a cafe after winning the gubernatorial election. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    Pennsylvania Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf greets people at a cafe after winning the gubernatorial election. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    Wolf’s team says the new administration will address poverty, pensions, and infrastructure.

    More than 13 percent of Pennsylvanians have incomes below the poverty line, according to the Census Bureau. The problem is even worse in cities like Reading, Chester, and Coatesville, where more than 30 percent of residents live in poverty. 

    Governor-elect Tom Wolf, who takes office January 20, will work to address poverty across the state, his team said. “One way to de-concentrate poverty, Governor-elect Wolf believes, is to focus on existing development resources, putting money into education and also expanding health care,” said press secretary Jeff Sheridan. In particular, Sheridan says Wolf plans to expand Medicaid to more Pennsylvanians.

    Poverty isn’t the only problem facing Pennsylvania’s cities. Nearly half the Commonwealth’s cities and towns that offer pension plans are classified as “distressed,” meaning they face at least a 10 percent shortfall. The Governor-elect will also make pensions a priority, Sheridan said. 

    “As Governor-elect Wolf has said many times, when we have healthy cities in Pennsylvania, the entire state’s economy is healthy,” Sheridan said. “So he does recognize that there is an issue with these municipal pensions, but it’s something that he’s going to have to work with the leaders of both parties to come up with solutions for.”

    Sheridan said the new administration will also focus on modernizing Pennsylvania’s transportation system. “That includes taking into consideration how to strengthen things like inner-city passenger rail, and how to connect the different parts of the state,” Sheridan said. “Those are the kinds of things he would like to look at to improve.” 

    It currently takes 7 1/2 hours to travel from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh on an Amtrak train. The Governor-elect is hoping to change that, Sheridan added.

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