Rather than partisan mudslinging, can we come together and move the Paoli Transit Center project and the economic redevelopment of Paoli forward?

The passage of the $2.4 billion transportation bill which will provide new funding for the state’s roads, bridges, tunnels and transit systems over the next five years, and the subsequent $14.5 million award earmarked for the Paoli Transit Center, brought excitement and renewed hope for Paoli. In discussion for 30 years, the train station project has languished with little movement and the new transportation funding, including multi-million dollar award for Paoli Transit Center, could be the needed catalyst. The economic redevelopment of Lancaster Avenue through Paoli hinges on building the Paoli Transit Center – its time is now. Paoli deserves a new beginning.

The release of Chester County Planning Commission’s 2013 Transportation Priority Projects report occurred prior to the House vote on the transportation bill although I did not see it until afterwards.  The report lists Paoli Transit Center as a transportation priority and includes a current photo of Paoli train station serves as the report’s cover. There is no question that the recent release of the Chester County report was a significant factor in the $14.5 million funding award for Paoli.

In addition to the county’s Planning Commission prioritizing Paoli Transit Center, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) continues to strongly support the project.  DVRPC adopts the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), the regionally agreed upon list of priority transportation projects (as required by federal law) and its recommendations. TIP’s 2013-2016 project list includes the Paoli Transit Center as a priority.

As residents in this community, we are aware of the importance of the municipal government and school district receiving Moody’s Aaa bond rating. Moody’s ratings scale range from Aaa (highly unlikely to default) to D (in default).  To receive the highest rating, requires very strong financial operations, ample reserves and strong management policies. In fact, candidates seeking office often promote maintaining our Aaa bond rating on political campaign literature.  So … it was interesting to read that we can add Moody’s Investors Service (www.moodys.com) to the list of those pleased with Pennsylvania’s transportation funding bill, calling it “a credit positive for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”.  Moody’s also gave the bill a credit positive because it phases out the annual funding burden that the prior transportation bill (Act 44) created for the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

There is strong support for the Paoli Transit Center including Tredyffrin Township (Paoli on the Move), Chester County Planning Commission, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Transportation Improvement Program, SEPTA, Paoli Business and Professional Association, local business community, elected officials and many residents.

However, initial excitement about the transportation bill and multi-million award for the Paoli Transit Center, has been marred by some finger-pointing and local political wrangling.  In advance of the final House vote on the transportation bill, a letter to the editor by Darien Jamieson, chair of the Tredyffrin Democrats, appeared in the Main Line Suburban.  In her letter, Jamieson criticized State Representative Warren Kampf (R-157) for his lack of support for the proposed transportation bill.  Unfortunately, Jamieson took her criticism of Kampf too far, making an inaccurate and unsubstantiated claim.  Jamieson’s letter ‘Warren Kampf – Too Extreme for Tredyffrin’ stated that Kampf took the Grover Norquist “No Tax” pledge. Her statement was not substantiated and the claim was incorrect.

In his response to Jamieson (which also appeared in the Suburban), Kampf refuted her claims, stating, “I have never taken a “no tax increase” pledge with any group, including any in Washington, D.C., as Ms. Jamieson claims. I would challenge her to offer proof for this claim or admit it is 100% a fabrication”.   A couple of days later, the transportation bill passed (without Rep. Kampf’s vote) and the subsequent announcement made about the $14.5 million award for the Paoli Transit Center.

This week Main Line Suburban contains another letter to the editor written by Jamieson. Writing as the chair of the Tredyffrin Township Demoratic Committee, I assumed that the purpose of Jamieson’s latest letter was to offer a public apology to Rep. Kampf for her previous unsupported accusations.  But no, there was no apology or retraction from Jamieson to Kampf in her letter, ‘Warren Kampf: Watch what he does – not what he says’ .

As a supporter of the Paoli Transit Center and the redevelopment of Paoli, I too questioned Kampf’s lack of support for the transportation bill and did not agree with his position.  However, it was wrong of Jamieson to ‘make facts up’ to strengthen her case against Kampf.  The situation made worse by the fact that Jamieson had the opportunity to apologize to Kampf  and retract her accusations and chose not to.

I’m not certain from where Jamieson is taking her cues but I would think that following the local Democrats impressive election wins last month, she would take a low profile. With two newly elected Democrats (Murph Wysocki and Mark Freed) joining Tredyffrin’s historically Republican Board of Supervisors, it would not appear helpful to have their party chair immersed in a ‘war of words’ with our local state representative.  To be successful in their new supervisor roles, requires Wysocki and Freed to leave their political party ‘hats’ at the door and prepare to work hard for all the residents – Republicans, Independents and Democrats. That same sentiment goes for the Republican supervisors.

The transportation bill passed and the community received good news for the Paoli Transit Center – rather than continuing the partisan bickering that only serves to divide, can we come together and move the train station project and the economic redevelopment of Paoli forward.

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17 Comments

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  1. Two things worth mentioning:

    First, Senator Andy Dinniman played a significant role in securing the $14.5 million for the Paoli Transit project. Let’s give credit where it’s due.

    Also, Mr. Wysocki stated from the beginning of his run for supervisor that he would resign from a TTDEMS leadership position if elected. He is committed to representing all Tredyffrin residents. As I understand it, his resignation as V.C. will be tendered in the next week or so.

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  2. As far as I see, Kampf voted against the bill all three times in the House – here is the history of the bill. http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/RC/Public/rc_view_action1.cfm?sess_yr=2013&sess_ind=0&rc_body=H&bill_body=H&bill_type=B&bill_nbr=106

    He also voted no when it came back from the Senate:
    http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/bill_votes.cfm?syear=2013&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1060

    So I don’t see how Mr. Hoffman can say he voted for it. Duane Milne switched his vote, so maybe this accounts for the confusion.

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  3. Is Kampf running for Governor? He has to be careful about his right-flank if he needs to compete out in the hills. I suppose he thinks he can take the local GOP for granted….

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  4. It would be nice to see new leadership in the TTDEMS department. maybe MS jamison has been around too long and in the spirit of compromise and a new beginning she should be thanked for her service and be replaced by some fresh thinking individual.

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    TT Democrat Reply:

    Looks like the leadership is gonna change. .DJ’s term is up and she’s moving out of the Tredyffrin Twp.

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  5. hopefully for the better. Less acrimonius, partisan.. Yea, both sides.. but new DEMS leadership will hopefully be helpful we are a relatively small community and should all pull together, compromise, give a little, take a little and keep caustic diatribes and monologues OUT of the Suburban it doesn’t contribute to working together.

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    TT Democrat Reply:

    “keep caustic diatribes and monologues OUT of the Suburban it doesn’t contribute to working together”

    You are SO right, enough!

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  6. Hi,

    Not to drag it out because I’m sure Ms. K is a very nice person, but I didn’t even understand her letter.

    Sidelines has often said and I agree, school boards around here are not party oriented. Directors cross lines all the time and band together to support each other on decisions frequently. I don’t know what happens when they take that oath because something does and all of a sudden, wa la! D.’s and R.’s are working together and supporting each other like nobodys business.

    Is it good? I guess it can be. I’ve just started to get involved, go to meetings and try to understand how it all works. I don’t agree with much of what’s happening but that’s O.K. too.

    I’m not sure of much but one thing I am sure of is the board members do not make decisions based on political party affiliation.

    Rich Brake supported most decisions made by the democrat leadership and that’s the truth.

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  7. Economic development projects in areas like Paoli really can work to everyone’s advantage. Why not learn from some of the success stories?
    Healthy retail districts generate tax revenues, provide employment, provide access to a variety of goods and services, and bring community members together. DVRPC has just published a report, “Revitalizing Suburban Downtown Retail Districts: Strategies and Best Practices,” that outlines shared characteristics of healthy retail districts and prioritizes them based on the economic success of the district in which they were found:
    http://www.dvrpc.org/asp/pubs/publicationabstract.asp?pub_id=13070

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  8. Pattye I applaud you for your fair minded response to the shenanigans of Ms. Jamieson. And for the respect and support in this case of Rep Kampf.. Freed and Wysocki would be smart to take a meeting with this editorial fiction writer and tell her to calm down. You are not going to bully Rep Kampf, and you will only serve to make life more difficult for the new board. Seems like she has a personal vendetta against Rep Kamp and as my dad used to say, this is like urinating on your own leg.. Hope this makes your censor ! If Jamieson is indeed leaving her post, it can’t come too soon, hopefully replaced by a more reasonable less angry person

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  9. Beverly, I think everyone agrees our infrastructure could use a facelift and that an economic development project in Paoli would benefit shared characteristics like employment opportunities and possible increased tax revenue.

    The issue is the majority of community members are not willing to take on an added tax increase right now. Residents have questioned and debated the stated .28 per gallon increase. I don’t know in reality what the true increase would be and I don’t think anyone knows, but I do know citizens do not feel comfortable in this fragile economy voting yes to yet another tax increase.

    Six Republican State Reps – 5 from Chester County – including Warren Kampf – held a free wheeling discussion this past week on what could be done about poverty and the fact that it has gotten worse in recent years. Children living in poverty in Chester County has risen 55% in recent years with half of them living in extreme poverty. Members from community organizations like T and E Care were also there to discuss the problem.

    It was reported that the Dems said “they don’t take the effort seriously.” If someone would like to comment on what that means, I would appreciate it. Otherwise, I think this is a great use of Mr. Kampf’s time, and this is the issue that everyone should be talking about.

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  10. Please just help me understand how tax REVENUES will be improved? I don’t think the project will pay interim taxes, and the township does not assess properties…

    Individual businesses only pay property taxes…no mercantile taxes?

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