On November 16, 2015, NECA’s Penn-Del-Jersey members joined their IBEW partners at IBEW Local 98 and nearly a dozen bipartisan lawmakers- including U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, Congressmen Pat Meehan and Bob Brady, Mayor-elect Jim Kenney, State Senator John Rafferty, and State Representative Bill Keller- for a Press Event to renew a push to extend the Philadelphia’s subway line 1.5 miles south into their Navy Yard.
Currently, the extension project is in Phase 2 of its feasibility study, a study that was funded by Pennsylvania’s State Highway Funding Bill in 2013. In the midst of the federal six-year highway bill now being conferenced in Washington, this is a local reminder of how much persistence it takes to make meaningful investments in infrastructure.
Across party lines, all of the speakers commented on the need to see this project to completion. Senator Casey said, “We’re grateful for the work that’s been done to date, but we’ve got to finish the job.” Senator Toomey said, “Part of that growth [in the Navy Yard] depends on good, solid, reliable, convenient transportation.” But John Dougherty, IBEW Local 98 Business Manager, said it best in his follow-up opinion letter, “When was the last time so many Democrats and Republicans joined forces to support any project? […] The Navy Yard is the size of Center City, yet its full potential is limited by a lack of transportation infrastructure and inadequate parking in the absence of efficient public transportation.” With the bipartisan support of the project, there is no better time than now to get the job done.
Philadelphia’s Navy Yard is undergoing a transformation but it needs to update its infrastructure to meet its potential. It is home to more than 11,000 employees and 145 companies. NECA’s Penn-Del-Jersey chapter is currently involved in the Navy Yard through energy efficiency and alternative energy projects in partnership with Penn State University.
However, the Navy Yard is still underutilized. It can accommodate up to 4.5 million square feet of industrial development including manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, light industrial, and flexible space. Its Master Plan supports up to 13.5 million square feet of development, 30,000 people, and over $3 billion in private investment.
Realizing the Navy Yard’s potential would have a tremendous impact on the industry and the region as a whole. The extension of the subway line would help to make that happen.