Thursday, December 02, 2004
The article (link embedded in the title) is very well written and it raises some points that must be pressed:
1) SEPTA depends more on fares than most public transit systems. In other words, other states view public transit as a vital cog that they should and must support, for both public policy and pure moral reasons. (IE, policy: less cars on road: good. Morals: The poor being able to get where they need to go, without breaking the bank: good.) Why does PA care less about mass transit than other States?
2) SEPTA has continually cut costs. Officials have cut 1200 jobs from the system recently, and have saved an estimated 420 million dollars in cost reductions. This is not an agency with out of control spending. Which brings us to point number three....
3) The State has continually contributed less money to SEPTA then they projected. Whether because of over optimistic tax collection estimates, or because of willful negligence, the money coming into to SEPTA has been far less than promised. The State expects SEPTA to make budgets when the State is not giving the amount of money it projected?
We should be clear on a few things... Yes, Philly has its problems. But, is there any question that our City is the economic engine of the SE PA region? And, is there any question that that SE PA region is currently the engine of the Pennsylvania economy? Philadelphia is the linchpin for the state, and SEPTA and workable mass transit in general, is vital to the city. Especially in a place depending more and more on a service economy (like hotels), mass transit is a must to get workers to their jobs, to shuttle tourists around, and hell, to take me home when it is raining.
Hopefully, Governor Rendell will at least temporarily stop the bleeding, while the State Legislature takes its good ol time deciding when to finally help out.
You can call the Governor's office and express your support for SEPTA funding at (717) 787-2500. Obviously, he is on our side with the fundamentals of this issue. But call him and make sure that he does what he can now, to prevent massive layoffs, service cuts and price hikes.