Pennsylvania Chapter of APA has adopted a series of official policy statements to effectively respond to requests for official positions on major issues related to planning.
Pennsylvania’s transportation system is one of our most significant assets economically and socially. It is diverse: An extensive web of highways, freight and passenger railroads, ports, mass transit systems and airports spread across the Commonwealth.
Significant progress has been made in air and water pollution but ozone and suspended particulate matter are still too high. Emissions of toxic substances into air and water remain high – air quality decreased by increased vehicle emissions as we travel longer distances to work. Greenhouse gas emissions rise seemingly inexorably. Human health problems increase, especially respiratory disorders, while obesity and diabetes rates rise partly because exercising falls off.
We must develop astutely. We must recognize the connection between natural resources and economic prosperity, between orderly growth and quality of life, and make investments that encourage development where it is appropriate and discourage discontinuous non-agricultural growth outside of existing or planned municipal service areas.
Per capita income in Pennsylvania has stayed even with the rest of the U.S., but we share the growing income disparity between the richest and poorest Pennsylvanians. Many citizens do not earn enough money to cover their basic needs even as they work “fulltime.” Our Gross State Product has risen more slowly than the U.S. Gross National Product since the mid-nineties.
While Pennsylvania’s growth rate is barely above the replacement level, the movement of people into our open space is gobbling up land at an unprecedented rate. Much of that land is sensitive or near sensitive lands and waters. The intent of our constitution, which guarantees the right to “pure water and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment,” is besieged by thousands of bulldozers.
Put simply, we are putting too much stress on our critical environmental areas (CEAs).
Many regions of the Commonwealth are experiencing either rapid growth or severe economic decline. Housing prices have risen dramatically for both home buyers and renters. Increasingly, affordable housing means old, dilapidated or abandoned stock in inner city or remote rural areas.