A pair of bicycles are parked along the bike-only lane on Penn Ave. in downtown Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
January 23, 2015

What is 'smart growth'?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government.

Payment in lieu of taxes or PILOTs are most commonly paid voluntarily by large landholding nonprofits, especially hospitals and private colleges.  Pictured here is Locust Walk on the University of Pennsylvania campus in West Philadelphia.  Students have recently criticized the university for not making regular PILOTs.  (Emma Lee/WHYY)
January 12, 2015 | EXPLAINER

Why do cities solicit PILOTs and why do nonprofits dislike the idea?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government. Today's topic: payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs.

A road crew paves 5th Street in Philadelphia, Pa. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)
November 18, 2014 | Explainer

How are Pennsylvania's roads holding up?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government. Today's topic: roads.

The orange lines and dots represent projects slated for 2014 that are made possible by Act 89. Credit: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
October 14, 2014

What is Pennsylvania’s Transportation Bill (Act 89)?

Act 89, also known as the Transportation Bill, was signed into law in 2013 to fund road projects, bridge repairs, and public transit.

Eighteen cities are eligible for the two additional CRIZ designations planned currently.  Lancaster (pictured) and Bethlehem already have CRIZ designations. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)
October 10, 2014 | Explainer: CRIZ part 1

What is a City Revitalization and Improvement Zone?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government. Today's topic: the City Revitalization & Improvement Zone, part one of six.

Construction workers build the new PPL Center on Hamilton Street in downtown Allentown.  The city’s new hockey arena opened in September 2014.  (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)
October 7, 2014 | Explainer

What is a Neighborhood Improvement Zone?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government. Today's topic: the Neighborhood Improvement Zone.

Map of the state of Pennsylvania showing county boundaries and names, county seats and rivers from the U.S. Geological Survey.
September 16, 2014 | Explainer

Why does Pa. have so many local governments?

Pennsylvania has more local governments than any other state except Texas and Illinois. Why?

Pennsylvania residents cast their vote at a polling place inside a fire station.  (AP file photo/Matt Slocum)
September 5, 2014 | Explainer

Municipal mergers and consolidations: solution for distressed municipalities?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government. Today's topic: municipal mergers and consolidations.

A team of surgeons work on multiple transplants at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, in Pittsburgh, Pa. (AP Photo/University of Pittsburgh Medical Center,John McCaulley)
September 2, 2014 | Explainer: 'Eds and Meds'

Eds and Meds: the role of universities and hospitals in economic development

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania's economy. Today's topic: What are eds and meds and why do they matter?

Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha for Everyone (APM) breaks ground on Paseo Verde, a Platinum Leed-ND transit oriented development in Philadelphia. Paseo Verde opened last fall. (Image courtesy of APM)
August 22, 2014 | EXPLAINER: COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONS (CDCs)

What is a Community Development Corporation (CDC)?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government. Today's topic: Community Development Corporations (CDCs).

The Liberty Bridge, a structurally deficient bridge in Pittsburgh. Photo courtesy of PennDOT.
August 19, 2014 | Explainer: structurally deficient bridges

Are Pennsylvania’s bridges safe?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government. Today's topic: structurally deficient bridges.

(Pa. home rule map)
July 24, 2014 | EXPLAINER: HOME RULE

What is home rule?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government. Today's topic: home rule

Michael Witherspoon walks home past abandoned rowhomes and empty lots in north Philadelphia. The 2010 census estimated that Pennsylvania has nearly 400,000 vacant properties, about 20,000 of which are in Pittsburgh and 40,000 in Philadelphia.  (AP File Photo/Dan Loh)
July 15, 2014 | Explainer

What is a land bank?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government. Today's topic: land banks

Harness racers pass the finish line at Harrah's Casino & Racetrack in Chester, Pa. Harrah’s Philadelphia is located in a Keystone Opportunity Zone.  The casino and racetrack was exempt from state and local taxes from 2006 through 2013. (AP Photo/George Widman)
July 10, 2014 | Explainer

What is an economic development incentive?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government. Today's topic: economic development incentive

(Holly Otterbein/NewsWorks.org | Source: Pennsylvania Auditor General)
June 30, 2014 | explainer: pensions

Are Pennsylvania’s cities facing a pension crisis?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government. Today's topic: pensions

Shown is the Pennsylvania state capitol building in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
June 24, 2014 | explainer: act 47

How does Pennsylvania’s distressed communities law (Act 47) work?

One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government. Today's topic: Pennsylvania's distressed communities law (Act 47)

Wastewater pipeline infrastructure in Pennsylvania is old and in some cities pollutes rivers.  In Philadelphia about half of the wastewater system has brick piping.  John Key Junior inspects a sewer in Philadelphia, Pa. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
July 8, 2015

The state of sewer pipelines in Pennsylvania

Wastewater pipeline infrastructure in Pennsylvania is old and in some cities pollutes rivers. 

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