Monday, February 28, 2005


After what seemed like weeks of delaying, Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D-Pa./Comcast SportsNet) announced that he would make $68 million in federal flexible funding available to bail SEPTA out, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal:
Rendell proposed that $68 million immediately be made available to SEPTA, which provides service in the Philadelphia area, and the Port Authority of Allegheny County, which serves the Pittsburgh area. Transit agencies will have access to additional funds through Jan. 1, 2007.

"It is welcome news that we are going to keep the system running," SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said.

Not to mention the fact that the Minister of Mis-Information gets to keep his job...

The funding averts SEPTA's planned service cuts and a 25 percent across-the-board fare hike that was to go into effect March 6, Rendell said. But it is only a temporary fix to a long-term problem, said Rendell and SEPTA officials, who held a press conference at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station.

"Although this is a good day in the sense we removed the immediate crisis...It isn't an entirely good day because in my judgment highway funds should be used for highways," Rendell said. "Some of this money will never go back to roads, bridges and highways."

How much of the funding is actually used will depend on how soon legislators act to provide permanent funding through a different source, Rendell said. Additionally, $530 million in new funding will be made available to repair roads and bridges, he said.

Transit agencies will receive the funding from federally provided transportation funds, a large portion of which can be used for either roads or transit. The new funding for roads will come from federal and state sources. Higher than expected revenues from federal and state gasoline taxes will boost funding to $942 million, $276 million of which is a result of the Oil Company Franchise Tax.

At Monday's press conference, Rendell also signed an executive order, creating a nine-member "Transportation Funding and Reform Commission" to study transit and highway funding needs and recommend ways to cut costs, improve efficiency and service, and raise needed funding. The recommendations will result in part from the findings of an external audit and outside management consultant review.

That is, if and when the governor can stop mourning the Iggles colossal choke job in the Super Bowl and actually release the damned report...

"We are always welcome to examinations of our costs and management by
government," said Maloney, who said SEPTA had conducted a number of studies.
Philadelphia Business Journal
Sure, SEPTA is open to the idea. If that's the case, why hasn't SEPTA implemented most of the proposals recently recommended in it's recently concluded, in-house audit?

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