Saturday, October 29, 2005


SEPTA isn't letting a little thing like a threatened work stoppage keep it from doing what it seems to do best - beg for money...

According to the Norristown Times-Herald, SEPTA is seeking an increase in the county's subsidy from $6.13 million to $6.28 million for next year.

The good news, said county SEPTA Board member Michael O'Donoghue, is that the proposed increase is less than the approximate 5 percent increase requested for this year by the transit agency.

And the bad news? SEPTA may have to return to the county in the spring, seeking additional dollars for the final six months of the year to keep service intact.

To prevent major service cutbacks, Gov. Ed Rendell earmarked flexible highway funds for mass transit use, explained county Commissioner Thomas J. Ellis, the county's other representative on the SEPTA Board. These funds, which do not require a local match, will continue through June of next year, Ellis said.

The state hopes to have some type of dedicated funding for mass transit in place by that time, he said. It is likely that the dedicated funds would require matching local funds, which would mean that SEPTA would need additional dollars from participating counties, according to Ellis.

He added that there is no guarantee that the governor would be inclined to, or even able to, use more highway funds to offset transit operating losses if a dedicated funding source is not in place.

"By this time next year, we will be on our way to solving the funding problem or it will be a big mess," said county Transportation Planning Chief Leo D. Bagley. Norristown Times-Herald

Yup, business as usual...

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