Sunday, February 20, 2005


Lost amid the flurry of threats by SEPTA to hike fares and slash service, the Pennsylvania Senate approved a bill (SB 199) sponsored by State Sen. Robert Thompson (R-19th/Chester) that would temporarily suspend the current $75 million cap on the amount of state sales tax that can be dedicated for mass transit statewide retroactive to July 1, 2004 and effective for the current fiscal year. The bill passed the Senate 46-0 and was referred to the House Finance Committee on February 14. The Evening Bulletin reported that SEPTA's take from this would be approximately $14 million.

The problem is that the legislature is in recess until March 14, a week after the first phase of planned fare hikes and 20 percent across-the-board service cuts are supposed to take effect. Kudos are due to Sen. Thompson - a former SEPTA Board Chairman during his stint as a Chester County Commissioner - for getting this bill passed, yet at the same time, it may take at least a month for the House to consider this proposal. By that time, the damage may be done...

No comments: