Delaware County Council is calling on community members to support the award of a federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant to fund the creation of a comprehensive transportation plan for the city of Chester. The new study, Reimagining Chester, will unify decades of isolated planning efforts, break down silos, and result in a community-based action plan and the designation of priority projects. The County has committed $50,000 toward the $6.5 million cost of the project, with the remainder to be funded through the federal RAISE grant. Supporters are being encouraged to contact Senator Robert P. Casey’s office to express their support for the grant through the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT).
“For decades, community leaders and elected and government officials have proposed numerous plans to help restore Chester to what it once was — a prosperous, thriving community full of jobs and a destination to visit. But too often, government and government entities did not work in coordination, include the community, or think through how transportation impacts development,” said Delaware County Council Vice Chair Elaine Schaefer. “The Reimagining Chester Study represents a pivotal opportunity in the city to consider holistically the various factors that impact Chester — everything from the transportation system to how downtown and waterfront redevelopment will shift land uses and zoning in the city. We hope that as many people as possible contact Senator Casey’s office to express their support for the RAISE grant needed to fund this important step forward for Chester.”
Since the early 1990s, more than 40 plans and studies have evaluated conditions and proposed visions for Chester, a city that is under state receivership and designated as both an Area of Persistent Poverty and a Historically Disadvantaged Community. Previous plans never coordinated efforts among local and regional stakeholders, which include the City of Chester, PennDOT, SEPTA, and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, among others. Barriers to implementation of these past studies include lack of funding, no plan for implementation, lack of innovation to solve complex transportation issues, and plans completed in agency “silos”.
The new Reimagining Chester plan, to be run with the Chester Economic Development Authority (CEDA) will:
Empower residents to establish a vision for their city
Document existing conditions and evaluate scenarios to advance a connected mobility network
Develop an action plan that identifies priority projects and outlines an implementation strategy
Deliver projects that will lead directly to implementation
The RAISE grants were originally created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as TIGER grants and can be used for a wide variety of projects. $1.5 billion is being made available for funding in 2022.
Delaware County Council is committed to the Reimagining Chester initiative and has allocated $50,000 and significant staff and planning resources toward the development of this RAISE application. Partnerships are in place with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to effectively manage and complete all four phases of Reimagining Chester. Key stakeholders include the City of Chester, PennDOT, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Pennsylvania Clean Air Council, Delaware County Industrial Development Authority, SEPTA, and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources.
Members of the public are encouraged to contact Senator Casey’s Office to express their support at 202-224-6324 (DC) or 215-405-9660 (Philadelphia) or online at Contact portal: https://www.casey.senate.gov/contact/share.
This is a wonderful initiative, which should be supported by all, but Chester has a much more immediate problem.