On the night of the hearing in Delaware County, several of the candidates were being interviewed by the editorial board of the Delaware County Daily Times. In a recent editorial, the Daily Times noted some of the responses:
Almost all thought SEPTA is worthy of dedicated funding. No one was sure where the money will come from.We should point out that Kirkland was the only one of the above group who didn't recieve the paper's endorsement, though it was not related to his response to SEPTA.
"I’m for dedicated funding provided they continue to show us progress in business operations. I suspect we’ll do something in lame duck to keep it up and running," said state Rep. Ron Raymond, R-162, of Ridley Township.
State Rep. Steve Barrar, R-160 of Upper Chichester, maintained that dedicated funding for SEPTA is necessary "to keep Delaware County viable."
State Rep. Nick Micozzie, R-163 of Upper Darby, noted, "I’ve always been for dedicated funding but I don’t know how to do that. The governor has to articulate the need."
State Rep. Mario Civera, R-164, of Upper Darby, whose district includes the 69th Street Terminal, a major mass transit hub, said he has been upset with SEPTA for a long time, but admits it needs a dedicated stream of funding. Where it will come from is another matter.
Increasing personal income tax is a possible way to raise SEPTA funds, said Micozzie. State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166 of Haverford, wondered if increased sales tax might be the answer.
Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9 of Chester, doesn’t want to impose a new tax, but recognizes the need for a dedicated source of mass transit funds in Pennsylvania.
State Rep. Bill Adolph, R-165 of Springfield, is a tougher customer in determining whether SEPTA deserves the state money at all.
"I have got to be convinced there is no wasteful spending before dedicating funding," said Adolph.
State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159 of Chester, said he is committed to a dedicated funding source "but I dislike constant threats from SEPTA" in terms of cutting service and hiking fares.
He is also realistic about what it means to the state budget. "Where will we get the money? It will have to be a source of dedicated funding but we’ll have to rob Peter to pay Paul," conceded Kirkland.
In the end, the fate of SEPTA affects everyone whether it be from bearing the financial burden of unemployed individuals unable to get to their jobs or sitting in traffic jams because lack of public transportation has forced most people to depend on cars.
If the state Legislature doesn’t provide relief to SEPTA, we’ll all pay for it one way or another. Delaware County Daily Times