House Legislators to Rendell: We will save SEPTA ourselves.Yesterday, the Daily News put an unusual editorial from its head honcho, Zach Stalberg, right on the front cover. It said, among other things, that the Daily news had not been proactive enough in covering and thinking about Mass Transit. And, in its title, it admonished the State to "Fix Mass Transit... Dammit!" Well, today we may be seeing the start of the paper's new commitment. Both the Inquirer and Daily News are loaded with stories about that always entertaining local topic: SEPTA.
Most interesting is Republican leader, and Northeast Philly resident, John Perzel, who said not to worry, he and the Republicans will save SEPTA himself. From the Inky:
House Speaker John M. Perzel yesterday pledged to rescue SEPTA riders from the threat of fare hikes and service cuts but rejected as inadequate a $110 million statewide transit bailout plan endorsed by Gov. Rendell.
"We will come up with our own ideas if the governor does not," the Philadelphia Republican said in an interview. "We will not let it fail."
Perzel declined to say whether a mass-transit aid package would spur further increases in the gasoline tax. The legislature has historically raised gas taxes for road improvements as an incentive to persuade rural legislators to provide more transit aid.
John Perzel is the wonderful humanitarian who gave us, among other things, the State takeover (patronage grab) of the city's parking authority as well as the dead-of-night "Leave no Billboard Behind Act." He also seems to view Philadelphia public schools as a monster that must be put down. That said, he is not necessarily an ideologue, so he might see that SEPTA is important, and needs money. I don't know. In the article he does state that we need a permanent solution, not another temporary fix (which is what the Dwight Evans-Ed Rendell plan really is). My fear, though, is that he passes a "permanent" solution that is far short of what SEPTA needs in the long term, and then when SEPTA later says it needs more, he tells them to go away, because he already took care of it in 2005.
And, just in case anyone doubts the pure economic benefit of effective mass transit: it is not a coincidence that our two upcoming new skyscrapers, Cira Center and the Comcast Center, are located right next to two of our major transit hubs.