December 7, 2004 |
ON DEC. 2, the city's two representatives on the SEPTA board vetoed a decision to raise the base fare to $3 a ride, which would be the highest in the nation. Fortunately, the two city reps have veto power though they only have two of 15 seats on the board. Unfortunately, the same rules allow that veto to be overridden by the rest of the suburban-dominated board on Dec. 16. The veto power is only symbolic. The veto is symbolic of the fact that those two SEPTA board members are there to represent Philadelphia, which contributes the highest subsidy of the five counties served by the authority and the highest portion of the authority's fare revenue.
April 7, 1995 |
How do communities keep the buses rolling when budget-cutting Republicans control Congress? For much of the Philadelphia region, embroiled in a strike by SEPTA, the question is academic. But it is one SEPTA management, striking workers and politicians throughout the region will have to grapple with - and soon. Once the Republicans took over, they made it clear that mass transit funding was transit in peril. And sure enough, the House's recent budget rescision package cut $140 million out of transit.
January 4, 2005 |
The guy I was with had spent most of his life in construction. Whenever he was looking for a better place for his family to live, he said the question was, "How close is it to the El?" He had to be sure he could get to work. And when the time came to find a nursing home for his mother, the question was, "Can Pop get there on the El?" Because his father would be his mom's most frequent visitor. Starting today, people in this area and around the state will have to start asking themselves different, but very fundamental questions like these about the importance of public transportation.
October 30, 2007
Just about everywhere but SEPTA: "Smart" fare cards. Transit systems around the nation and world are using credit-card-sized fare cards with embedded computer chips that can be swiftly read as the passenger boards. SEPTA says it is working toward a smart-card system, and offers the consolation that its slowness in moving to the new approach means it can learn from others' mistakes and buy the most promising technology. Local users would like any SEPTA card to work on other area rail systems.
May 22, 2004
Pennsylvania is moving full throttle toward a statewide transit crisis that the Republican-run legislature is still trying to dismiss as a "big-city" (read that Democratic) problem. It's wrong. The money crunch has also hit 68 smaller transit systems that serve low-wage workers and thousands of elderly riders across Pennsylvania. "We're in dire straits," said Michael Imbrogno, president of the Pennsylvania Public Transit Association, which represents all 70 of the state's transit systems.
April 24, 1986 |
In a recent Inquirer Op-ed column, Tony Snow of the Detroit News argued that federal investments in mass transit have failed, and he suggested that Congress "cut its losses and admit that it has spent 23 years moving in the wrong direction. " It is a position that has been embraced by both parties in Congress. The debate has gone on for years, yet for all of the statistical evidence bandied back and forth about transit's role in moving people, I believe the real value of public investment in mass transit has never been properly understood.
June 29, 2007
Republican state senators who represent Philadelphia's suburbs will be doing their constituents a great disservice if they don't agree to a deal on the table to strengthen SEPTA and Pennsylvania's other mass-transit systems. Supporting the deal may not be an easy vote for these legislators, including Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware) - but it's the right vote. The Senate GOP has been locked in a battle with Gov. Rendell over transportation funding, which the state has neglected for at least a decade.
June 13, 1990
It is time for the legislative bloc from Southeastern Pennsylvania to provide some real leadership to push through a constitutional amendment that would allow the state's gasoline-tax revenues now restricted for highway construction to be used for mass transit as well. Californians voted just last week to double their state's gas tax as a way to improve both highway and mass transit systems. The fact that traffic jams and smog have reached emergency proportions in places such as Los Angeles does not mean that Pennsylvanians should be too smug about smog.
November 30, 1989 |
An increase of at least 7 cents in the 9-cent federal gasoline tax is essential to upgrade the nation's mass-transit systems, curb gridlock and reduce air pollution, according to a report released yesterday by the American Public Transit Association. The gas-tax increase would generate about $7 billion, half of which should be earmarked for maintaining mass-transit systems and half for expanding them, according to the Managing Mobility report, which was two years in the making.
August 30, 1989
Lettie Gay Carson, an 88-year-old veteran advocate of public transit from Newtown, has complained that her small transit group has been shut out of a federal hearing on national transportation policy being held today in the Federal Reserve Bank on Sixth Street. She fears that this is part of a greater plot by the Bush administration to follow the traditional shortsighted U.S. transportation policy of putting millions more into highways than into mass transit. She spied strong evidence of what she believes is the President's pandering to the auto lobby when he introduced his national clean air plan last month with no mention of the vital role that mass transit could play in reducing the dependence on the automobile and its concomitant impact on air pollution.