A new national study using artificial intelligence found that Philadelphia has the best roads in the nation. Yet perhaps unsurprisingly, people who actually drive in Philly disagree...strongly. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the company Roadbotics to create a report on roads. The study used smartphones aimed out of the windshield of vehicles. The cameras were then used to analyze road conditions, noting factors like potholes and cracking. For Philadelphia, the Roadbotics study mainly focused on Center City and the A.I. technology mapped out the streets, rating them from “green” to “red.” In the end, Roadbotics ranked Philadelphia number one for best conditioned roads in the country, a ranking that surprised many residents who we spoke with. “When you say best in the country, I wonder which country they’re talking about,” Stephen DeLuca of West Philadelphia said. Our redesigned local news and weather app is live! Download it for iOS or Android — and sign up for alerts. One driver named Josh gave his own assessment of the city’s roads. “These roads suck,” he said. “There’s potholes everywhere.” How the Infrastructure Bill Would Impact Train Travel in and Around Philly Another driver, Latoya, told NBC10 she’s used to dodging potholes while driving in Philly. “I’ve traveled a lot and I’ve never seen so many potholes,” she said. “A lot of swerving.” DeLuca acknowledged that he’s seen several construction projects throughout the city. “I’ll give the city this, they have been redoing a lot of roads this year,” DeLuca said. “I live in West Philly and they’ve been doing Spruce, doing the road up here and up here.” A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Streets Department reacted to the report and said the city has invested a great deal of time and effort to improve safety on the city’s roads. “This includes the Mayor's FY21 budget commitment of $100m over two years for resurfacing and ADA curb ramp installation and adhering to standards and safety guidelines for roadway infrastructure set forth under the city's Complete streets and Vision Zero efforts,” the spokesperson wrote. “Our goal in executing safe travel for all is to achieve zero traffic deaths and making sure travel is convenient for those walking, cycling, driving automobiles, riding public transportation, or delivering goods. We are thrilled to receive the recognition in the US Chamber Foundation's report.” The Streets Department said they’ve filled more than 31,000 potholes so far this year. But some residents say that’s not enough to be number one. “This is a hard place to maintain roads,” Josh told NBC10. “But they’re not the best roads in the country.”https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/transportation-and-transit/study-says-philly-has-americas-best-roads-drivers-strongly-disagree/2909902/
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during a hearing. | AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana President Joe Biden’s pick for the No. 3 spot at the Education Department is moving forward in the Senate after Sen. Elizabeth Warren dropped her opposition, citing “substantial reforms” to the federal student loan program that she says the administration vowed to make. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer early Wednesday morning filed cloture on the nomination of James Kvaal to be undersecretary of Education, the top official overseeing higher education and student aid. The Senate agreed to take up the procedural vote on his nomination when it returns from recess in mid-September. Kvaal, a former top Obama education adviser who most recently led The Institute for College Access and Success, won bipartisan support as his nomination cleared the Senate HELP Committee in April on a 19-3 vote. But Warren blocked a swift confirmation on the Senate floor as she pressed the Biden administration over its plans for managing $1.6 trillion of federal student loans. Key context: After months of talks with the Education Department, Warren released her hold on the nomination last week, clearing the way for a vote when the Senate returns in September. “I have had productive conversations with Mr. Kvaal, the Department of Education, and the White House, and I am glad they have committed to making substantial reforms to the administration of the student loan program,” Warren (D-Mass.) said in a statement on Wednesday. “I look forward to continuing to work with them as these changes are implemented.” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona wrote in a letter to Warren and Schumer last week that his agency planned to work in the coming months on “servicing and debt collection, improving targeted debt relief, and strengthening oversight and enforcement of institutions and of accreditation agencies.” Cardona wrote in the letter, which was obtained by POLITICO, that he was sharing with Warren and Schumer “some of our future plans based on your helpful input.” A source familiar with that agreement said the Education Department pledged to make changes to its policies governing bankruptcy for student loan borrowers, accountability for loan servicing companies and the treatment of borrowers who default on their debt. The cloture motion filed by Schumer on early Wednesday also comes after the Biden administration last week extended the pause on monthly student loan payments and interest until the end of January 2022. Schumer and Warren were among the Democratic lawmakers who had called for that extension, though they also want the Biden administration to go further and cancel up to $50,000 of debt per borrower using executive action. The White House has said the administration is still reviewing whether it has the legal power to wipe out large swaths of outstanding federal student loan debt. The commitments that Warren won from the Education Department did not relate directly to widespread student debt cancellation, according to a source familiar with the agreement. What’s next: The Senate agreed to consider Kvaal’s nomination when it returns from recess next month. The chamber is set to take a procedural vote on the nomination after 5:30 p.m.https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/11/warren-higher-education-nominee-503791