Bridge Commission Introduces Fiscal Year 2013 Budget:
NO TOLL INCREASE on
Tacony-Palmyra & Burlington-Bristol Bridges
For the twelfth consecutive year, Burlington County Bridge Commissioners announced that there would be no toll increase on its two toll bridges with the introduction of its 2013 budget. They also reaffirmed their commitment to an aggressive bridge maintenance program and pledged to continue economic development and tax-saving efforts that have already saved Burlington County taxpayers more than $15.5 million dollars.
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“Twelve years with no toll increase—in any economy, that’s an achievement,” said Bridge Commission Chairman John Comegno. “In this economy, it’s exceptional fiscal management. There’s a good reason our customers call us the ‘best bargain around.’ ”
Vice-Chairman James Fattorini said, “I’m proud to introduce a flat budget that provides for improvements to our signature bridges and assistance to our County’s taxpayers.”
The Commission’s $42.6 million dollar capital budget supports the Commission’s commitment to maintain the integrity and safety of its bridges, and includes the following:
• completion of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge deck replacement
• replacement of the Riverside-Delanco Bridge deck,
• repairs to the Burlington-Bristol Bridge operating and machinery room
• safety enhancements to toll plaza and painting at both Commission bridges.
“These aggressive capital programs will not only keep our bridges in top condition and provide safe and efficient travel for our customers, but they will also provide jobs for our citizens struggling to find work,” added Commissioner Troy E. Singleton.
The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of more than $15.5 million dollars and garnered more than $13.5 million dollars in grant monies for municipalities.
More Than 3,300 Devices Now Receiving Bridge Commission’s Alerts via Nixle
The Burlington County Bridge Commission’s community information service that notifies customers of the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges of scheduled bridge openings and other traffic issues now reaches 3,356 devices. Since early May, customers have signed up for the service, which sends text or email messages about issues that may affect their commute.
"This notification service has been a great success,” said Commission Chairman John Comegno. “Beyond the thousands of motorists who have opted to receive alerts, we’ve heard positive things from our customers, and thanks for providing this service.”
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Motorists have signed up to receive notices by email, text message, or both. They can also choose to receive messages related to the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, or both bridges. While messages sent so far have been about upcoming bridge openings, future messages may also notify subscribers about vehicular accidents, traffic issues, or planned construction work that may affect their commute.
Because the bridges open “on demand” (upon vessels’ requests), advance notification isn’t always possible, but when adequate advance notice is provided, the Nixle system notifies registered users. Notification to the Commission varies greatly so the timetable for notifications via Nixle varies accordingly.
The service is FREE of charge, both to the Bridge Commission and to the users (if the users’ cell phone carrier charges for text messages, users will incur that charge, but there is no “opt-in” or per-message charge imposed by the Bridge Commission).
Users can sign up at www.nixle.com, from the link provided on the Commission’s website, www.bcbridges.org, or by sending a text message to 888-777 (type “TACPAL” to receive alerts related to the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge; type “BBBB” to receive alerts about the Burlington-Bristol Bridge).
“For the 40,000 people who cross our bridges every day, who are already saving money on tolls, this service is a bonus,” said Comegno. “Now we’re saving them time and money.”
PCNP Adds “Institute for Earth Observations” to its Educational Offerings
As part of PCNP’s expanding effort to bring high quality educational experiences to teachers and students in the region, PCNP introduces its Institute for Earth Observations. John Moore, PCNP’s Director for Geoscience STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Education, leads the Institute, which is intended as an ongoing educational endeavor to engage teachers and students in an innovative study of Planet Earth from both earthbound and space borne perspectives, using state-of-the-art technologies and educational resources.
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Building upon established Geoscience related field studies, observations, and measurements, the Institute for Earth
Observations expands the study of our planet through the use of remote sensing and geospatial technologies and provides leadership for developing STEM applications in the classroom.
John's experience includes twenty-eight years as a classroom teacher of geosciences at Burlington County Institute of Technology and two years as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Fellow at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC.
With John on staff, PCNP has the opportunity to offer GLOBE Teacher Training Workshops, American Meteorological Society DataStreme Courses, and NASA-funded Eyes in the Sky II courses. All are completed by pre-college teachers in the tri-state area. Ultimately, PCNP will develop a STEM Master Teachers’ Corps with the teachers who have completed these and other professional development courses in geosciences and related fields.
But, we want to go a step further. We will create a “Clubhouse” for our Master Teachers so that they may continue the relationships they develop with other teachers in our workshops and courses. While these teachers will certainly take their new knowledge and experience back to their respective schools to share with their students, we want them to have an opportunity to circle back to share continuing knowledge and experience with their fellow Master Teachers. Hence, the “Clubhouse.”
Ultimately we will develop a coalition of teachers who are AMS, GLOBE, and NASA trained to facilitate Professional Development Courses for regional teachers.
The Master Teachers who belong to the “Clubhouse” and who participate in the programming offered through the Institute for Earth Observations will become the teachers who teach the teachers who teach the students. The Institute builds on ten years of successful program development at PCNP focused on the Cove’s ecosystems with all of their interdependent components, and expands the study of the our planet to the world around us through the eyes of technology.
The plan is ambitious and far-reaching with the potential for a broad impact. It is also timely and well within PCNP’s mission and ability to accomplish.
For more information about the Institute for Earth Observations visit our website. http://www.palmyracove.org/