Priorities for a Better Philadelphia
I will fight to make sure the infrastructure of our city works for all Philadelphians. As a thriving city in the richest country in the world, we must be able to guarantee basic dignities like clean air and clean water to all residents. Investing in our infrastructure creates jobs, saves millions of dollars in the long run, and ensures these vital systems are safe and reliable for many years to come.
Philadelphia's crumbling infrastructure was built decades ago and has not been properly maintained. Our water pipes burst frequently causing the loss of millions of gallons of water, safety issues, and service interruptions for miles. Our roads are filled with tire-busting potholes that hurt our economy. Reacting to these failing infrastructure disasters at the point of crisis comes with exorbitant costs and endangers public safety. We can do better. By responding to early warning signs and anticipating and prioritizing our infrastructure needs, we can fix small challenges before they become big ones.
We all deserve access to the same opportunities. A strong infrastructure is at the core of how we make that happen.
Economic inequality affects all of us. When residents struggle, neighborhoods struggle. 26% of people in our city live below the poverty line. The minimum wage is supposed to meet our basic cost of living. I will fight for a $15 minimum wage for Philadelphia. We can lessen the divide between the haves and have-nots by supporting businesses that support our residents. There is no quick fix but there are common-sense steps we must take now.
Philadelphia is a city on the rise. We must be smart and manage that growth by protecting the incredible history and rich culture that make our city so special. I will fight to protect our residents to make sure they’re not priced out of the neighborhoods they have lived in for generations. We have a shortage of housing in general in Philadelphia, and all the new units we are building are very expensive. We need to use programs like inclusionary zoning to make sure people at all income levels can afford to live in our great city. Tax abatements and other incentive programs are also very effective and helpful when done responsibly. Mixed-income neighborhoods are more economically stable and offer rich cultural diversity, unique shops, and exciting restaurants. Together, we can ensure that all of us can afford to live and thrive in Philadelphia.
We must support our schools, teachers, and students. 75% of our public schools don't have air conditioning. At the start of the 2018 school year, five out of the first seven days of school had early dismissals because of the unbearable heatwave. There’s also lead paint still covering the walls of our schools, posing a health risk to everyone inside. We must provide an environment conducive to our students learning and our teachers teaching.
Excellent public transportation enhances our quality of life and grows our economy by providing access to more job opportunities and reducing our road congestion. I will work to update our public transportation for the 21st century with smart technology to make it reliable, safe, convenient, and responsive to the needs of our communities and city. With smart investments in technology and infrastructure, we can build a world-class public transportation system.