I-95 comes alive (Instagram/@governorshapiro)

RECAP: Looking back on the week that was

• I-95 reopens after less than 2 weeks

Fire trucks, mascots from all five major sports teams, union workers, TikTok influencers, the “Mayor of Mayfair,” and the president of the United States all participated in a Friday morning ceremony organized by Gov. Shapiro’s administration to celebrate a milestone happening way sooner than originally predicted: Traffic is flowing again on I-95 in Northeast Philadelphia
[Billy Penn]

• Council approves $6.2B city budget

The budget approved last week by City Council is the largest in Philadelphia history. It takes effect July 1, and is the last for Mayor Kenney. It aims to stimulate local business with cuts to wage and business taxes (larger than Kenney originally proposed), $233 million in anti-violence initiatives (including an extra $55M for the PPD), funding to keep libraries open 6 days a week, boosted hiring bonuses to solve municipal staffing shortages, no changes to property taxes, and a larger-than-ever rainy day fund
[Phila Gov/Tribune$/BP/PHL Council/Axios/BP]

• Requiem for Philly smoking bars

It’s been illegal to smoke in Philadelphia bars and restaurants for over a decade, but some places got exemptions, providing respite for people who just don’t want to give up puffing when they go out to drink. Those holdouts are now disappearing, Ali Mohsen reported last week — with mainstays like Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar and Dirty Franks both giving up the ghost. 
[Billy Penn]

• Exploring by rail from Philadelphia 

In the mood for a train trip? 30th Street Station offers tons of opportunities for adventure via rail travel, with Amtrak, NJ Transit, and SEPTA all offering routes out of southeastern Pa. Asha Prihar chose a long one — 20+ hours across the country to Indianapolis — and put together a fun travelog that describes what it’s like
[Billy Penn x 2]

The Chinese Lantern Festival returns to Franklin Square. (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead

• Philly leaders push for school funding in Pa. budget

Negotiations are still ongoing in Harrisburg over how to handle the first Pa. budget surplus in years. Elected officials and education leaders in Philadelphia are calling on the legislature to boost Shapiro’s proposed $100M for school facilities repair to $250M. The problem is dire in Philly, where asbestos contamination continues to close schools. Though the district last year paused its regular facilities assessment, Billy Penn and Temple’s Logan Center analyzed the data that does exist; stay tuned for details.  
[Pa. House/Inquirer$/Capital-Star/WHYY]

• Moms of Liberty land in Center City

Expect protests and counter-protests this week as the conservative nonprofit Moms for Liberty hosts its national “Joyful Warriors Summit” in Philadelphia this week. The Museum of American Revolution is facing criticism for renting space to the group, which is known for its efforts to enact book bans and anti-LGBTQ policies in schools. The conference runs Thursday through Sunday, centered at the Marriott across from Reading Terminal Market. 
[PGN/Art Newspaper/NPR]

• Greyhound ditching bus terminal

As of Wednesday, Greyhound buses into Philadelphia will arrive and depart at 6th and Market streets, around the same area where Megabus stops. It’s a major change for Greyhound, which has operated a dedicated terminal at 12th and Filbert since the 1980s — and it paves the way for the parcel behind the Fashion District to be taken over by the Sixers, who’ve included it in their plans for a downtown arena. Meanwhile, a big new development has already risen a few blocks away at Market East.
[Inquirer$/6ABC/Billy Penn]

• Mike’s BBQ changes hands

One of the city’s top BBQ joints will have a new owner by the end of the week, but all involved say changes will be minimal. Mike Strauss, who opened his eponymous South Philly ‘cue stop five years ago with his wife Eylonah, said it’s time to pass the torch to up-and-coming pitmaster Daniel Grobman, who’s worked at Fette Sau and Deke’s. Strauss will stay on through the summer to smooth the transition.
[Eater 2019/Philly Bite/Instagram]