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Public transit foresees huge fiscal cliff without aid

Plus, how Spotlight PA plans to cover the 2024 election.

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A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Wednesday, January 31, 2024
Today: Bus money, 2024 mission, economic vision, racism on campus, political fortunes, and Pennsylvania's secular 'nones.' This is PA Post.
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Pennsylvania transit systems are struggling with inflation, even as ridership rebounds from the pandemic. And while Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro is pitching more funding, legislative Republicans may not agree.

Shapiro is seeking a five-year, $1.5 billion boost to state funding for public transit systems in this year's budget, calling it a commonsense way to create good-paying jobs and spur economic development.

But his plan will need to get through the GOP-led state Senate. Spotlight PA found Republican lawmakers there expressing interest in tackling the transit issue. But they've also tied it to their own contested efforts to challenge the authority of progressive Philly District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Gov. Shapiro is pitching more funding for Pa.’s struggling transit systems. Will the state Senate agree?


“I’m considering getting a tattoo of it, and definitely a T-shirt.”

Philadelphia cannabis activist Chris Goldstein who received a pardon from President Joe Biden for weed-smoking protests at Independence Mall
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Cardinals in the snow, via Lynne E. Have a photo you want to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on IG, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

Cardinals on snow-covered branches of a tree.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.2024 COVERAGE: The 2024 election will make Pennsylvania a central focus of national politics again. How will Spotlight PA cover it? With three key pillars: translating local impacts, guarding against disinformation, and explaining the systems and processes involved.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.10-YEAR PLAN: Ahead of next week's budget address, Gov. Shapiro is unveiling his 10-year economic development plan for Pennsylvania, one that includes millions of dollars to boost legacy industries, attract big employers, and make it easier to launch a startup, via AP.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
LISTENING TOUR: An exhaustive listening tour on racism at state-owned universities, inspired by this Spotlight PA reporting and hosted by state Sen. Art Haywood (D., Philadelphia), has yielded a 27-page report and six recommended fixes, per TribLIVE. 

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.PA POLITIC$: A Bucks County special election has drawn a $50,000 investment from national Democrats, with control of the state House on the line. At the congressional level, major GOP donors are looking to Pennsylvania to stem a possible Trump-inspired blue wave.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.IN BRIEF: U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D., Pa.) is headed to deep-red Idaho to address Democrats in Boise; and a former GOP lieutenant governor candidate and "parental rights" advocate in Bucks County is charged with giving alcohol to minors and assaulting one.

$2.25B VERDICT: A Philadelphia jury has ordered Monsanto and Bayer to pay a Lycoming County man $2.25 billion after determining their Roundup herbicide product caused his cancer, CNN reports.

THE 'NONES': People with no religious affiliation, aka 'nones,' are now the largest cohort in the U.S., according to Pew Research. NPR spoke with a group in Pittsburgh that's teaching people to be good without God.

AMERICAN HISTORY: PBS has a new documentary, Nazi Town, USA, that delves into the pro-Nazi Bund camps on American soil during World War II. There was one at the Deutschhorst Country Club in Bucks County.

OFF THE TABLE: A proposal to add a campsite at a new Pennsylvania state park in Chester County is off the table after residents concerned about "quality of life" issues petitioned against it, via WHYY.

LEGO LEADERS: Former Wolf administration staffer Alain Xiong-Calmes celebrated International Lego Day this week by using AI technology to make Lego versions of notable Pennsylvania Democrats.

Are you a Berks County resident? We're seeking community input! Join one of our upcoming Spotlight PA - Berks County listening sessions:

Feb. 21: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at West Lawn-Wyomissing Hills Library | Register Here

A listening session is an informal, small-group discussion in which we are seeking your thoughts, opinions, and concerns on local news coverage, information access, community information needs, and news consumption habits. Visit spotlightpa.org/berks for more information.
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Vernacular

Congrats to our daily winners: Eddy Z., Dan A., Bob C., Stacy S., Don H., Vicki U., Richard A., Marty M., Eric F., Kevin M., Barbara F., Susan R., Susan N.-Z., Wendy A., Elaine C., Mike B., Jon W., Jane R., Margaret K., Daniel M., Judith D., Marie B., Daniel S., Kimberly D., Fran C., William Z., Janet S., Kim C., Lynne E., David W., Tish M., Stanley J., Tom M., Soundar K., Carol S., Sharon B., and Jeffrey F.
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