Wednesday, March 02, 2005


The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ran an editorial in today's editions regarding Monday's bailout of SEPTA and other transit agencies by Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D-Pa./Comcast SportsNet):

The governor will divert $68 million from federal highway funds to get the Port Authority of Allegheny County and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority through the end of this fiscal year. If the state Legislature doesn't devise a more dedicated funding stream after that, Mr. Rendell says he'll divert millions more in highway dollars to keep both agencies afloat next year.

Oh, the irony: Poorly managed mass transit is saved by its aficionados' bane -- the car.
The operative words as it lreates to SEPTA are "poorly managed" though I don't know enough about Pittsburgh's transit agency to say the same thing about them...

Part of Rendell's deal, though, is the creation of a nine-member state Transportation Funding and Reform Commission. One of its missions is to find ways to cut costs, enhance efficiencies and improve service. There will be an external audit of operations and review by an outside management consultant.

Bravo! As long as the appointees (five by the governor and four by the Legislature) are honest brokers, that is. Too many such boards are rubber stamps for an ever-deeper dive into taxpayer pockets. If this board does not recommend a considerable shake-up of the Port Authority and SEPTA, we'll know it's a sham.

Mass transit is broken in this commonwealth. The opportunity is golden to fix it -- not through more government folly but through the competitive market model. Let's get on with it.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
It should be pointed out that unlike the two far-left-of-center leaning rags in Philadelphia - The Inquirer and Daily News - the Tribune-Review leans further to the right-of-center, hence the "competitive market" suggestion. Which, to be fair, can't be any worse than what exists now...

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