Wednesday, November 19, 2003


PennDOT recently awarded a $115,000 grant to West Chester Borough officials to initiate a new shuttle bus service within the borough and nearby West Goshen and East Bradford townships. Considering that a shuttle bus service was to have been one of the higher priorities for the borough over the next few years, this would appear to be a no-brainer, right?

Um, nope.

West Chester Borough Council's Finance Committee recommended to the full council not to accept the grant, because it would cost the borough $38,000 to operate the service for the first year.

Before anybody finds that last item ridiculous, bear in mind that this is the same borough council which recently held a special session a couple of months ago - on a Saturday, no less - to authorize the purchase of a more expensive brick for use in replacing the sidewalks along Market St in downtown West Chester. As I recall, the amount spent fot the newer brick was nearly $150,000. Yet, these same geniuses (two of whom are leaving at the end of the year, thankfully) won't shell out $38,000 to operate a highly needed shuttle bus?

And don't think the borough council isn't the only culprit here. The TMA of Chester County had approached West Chester University about funding part of the service for the weekday daytime service. The university was more interested in weekend evening service as opposed to the weekday service proposed by TMACC. (Incidentially, knowing the TMACC's past policy regarding their refusal to honor SEPTA fare instruments, the shuttle would've probably been a failure, but we probably won't know until next year at the earliest.)

An editorial in Tuesday's Daily Local News seems to have hit the mark. What they apparently are missing is the lack of interest on SEPTA's part. How is it that the authority can support boondoggle routes in Lower Merion and Lower Bucks while ignoring a potential successful shuttle service in West Chester? If SEPTA's involvement is good enough for West Whiteland Township (where the WHIRL has been in place for two years), then it should be good enough for West Chester.

Assuming that the borough council and the university wake up to this fact before High and Gay Sts becomes gridlocked even worse than I-76...


Apparently, some peope have taken exception to recent comments I made regarding a recent item involving State Sen Connie Hess Williams (D-17), particularly linking the first term senator to highway interests by way of links to her family fortune - which incidentially is in the oil industry. As tempting as it is to apologize right off the top, I do have to make what I feel is a valid point...

Why is it okay for liberals to criticize President Bush for his ties to the oil industry but it's not okay for non-liberals to do the same to a Democratic legislator?

That said, the only apology I am making is for linking my analysis of Sen. Williams statements on $chuylkill Valley to her family background and to the opening of the I-76/US 202 interchange. I still believe that the senator should be realistic about who $chuylkill Valley will play out, but I probably shouldn't have allowed my Republican views to cloud my comments and accusing her of being tied in with highway interests.

That doesn't mean I'm going to treat Lower Merion with kid gloves, by the way. I still think the pols in that town are borderline elitest. How else do you explain the school board's plans to essentially tear down its two high schools which were renovated only a few years ago? There had better be a compelling reason for that proposal...

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