"No guaranteed funding and 50-50 would mean the death of the Schuylkill Valley Metro, barring a miracle."
Here's an idea. How about scaling back the project so it doesn't become the boondoggle that it appears to be becoming? Considering the costs for other passenger rail extentions across the country are coming in far less than what Schuylkill Valley would potentially cost, SEPTA, BARTA, and their enablers in this scheme (take a bow, Greater Valley Forge TMA Director Peter Quinn and the rest of the "SVM Coalition" who have taken an all or nothing approach to this project from day 1) may want to try designing a less ambitious project instead of risking political embarassment from Washington when the plug gets pulled on this project.
SEPTA says it has left the door open to such a review, even as it denies there are better places to cut spending from. An independent evaluation would be useful about now.
They're kidding, right? Well, a good place to start would be laying off 200 employees, as SEPTA had promised to do as part of expense reductions (the Daily News reported recently that the layoffs would save nearly $10 million). Then, freeze the salaries of all remaining non-union (ie. management and other executives who are not covered by a collective bargaining agreement). I'm sure you can find about $5 million in savings if such employees delayed raises for a year or two.
The next step would be to reassign several bus routes to different depots to reduce deadhead mileage and to eliminate wasteful deadhead mileage on the remaining routes (don't even get me started on all of the buses that deadhead from Southern to starting points in North Philadelphia and to Overbrook Rail Station (G bus); not to mention the fact that the 89 runs out of Midvale even though the starting point for all runs are at Arrott Terminal, which is about 7 blocks south of Frankford Depot).
And finally, SEPTA needs to reform the Railroad Division, or at least the scheduling and line pairings. It seems wasteful to send a 5 car train to the Airport, then turn it around and run it to West Trenton or Warminster when such longer consists aren't really neccesary.
But, then again, why would SEPTA want to listen to logic?
"If it relies on SEPTA to back it, it's not going anywhere ... Its time has come."
I'm sure there are people along the US 422 corridor between King of Prussia and Reading who would share Mr. Vey's assessment.
"We've decided to turn our attention to Harrisburg because ultimately it's not just SEPTA's mismanagement, but Harrisburg's lack of funding that has caused the proposed cuts."
Okay. Maybe Harrisburg hasn't been as supportive of transit systems in the Commonwealth as other states have been in the past. But before Harrisburg starts sending off blank checks to SEPTA, perhaps some management reform is in order. Given the sorry state of the Regional Rail system (an 84 percent on-time record, clearly among the worst in the nation), it appears that some "advocate groups" are oblivious to the fact that SEPTA's problems aren't directly tied to a lack of funding from Harrisburg, but rather a lack of competent operations people at 1234 Market. This site has repeatedly noted most (though not all) of the problems just on the operations side alone over the past few years, not to mention some very dubious decisions by management. Perhaps Mr. Hutt would like to review the news archives of this site from the past 2-3 years to get a better grip on the problems facing SEPTA.