July 1, 2007 |
HARRISBURG - A state Senate panel approved a transportation package yesterday that would provide $750 million in new funding for highway projects and mass-transit agencies this year. "I really believe this will solve the mass-transit problem for decades to come," State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo (D., Phila.) said. Fumo, who helped craft the package, said leaders in both chambers had agreed on the legislation, considered a linchpin for passage of a new state budget. But officials in the House characterized it as something short of a compromise as the state began a new fiscal year without a budget.
March 18, 1990
The people who love to build highways in Pennsylvania are going to have to learn to love mass transit, too. Either that, or they'll be building fewer highways. That's the ultimatum that U.S. Rep. William H. Gray 3d hopes to deliver to the powers-that-be in Harrisburg. A ranking member of the House Appropriations transportation subcommittee, the Philadelphia Democrat has co-sponsored legislation that would force Pennsylvania to create a dedicated source of funding for mass transit or lose as much as $200 million a year in federal highway funds.
June 26, 2001 |
Last Thursday, the same day SEPTA surprised the region with its enjoy-your-summer fare increases, a report was issued from Washington. It announced that Amtrak, despite increased ridership, was not "on track" to achieve its goal of financial independence from Congress in the next several years. Not a good day for lovers of mass transit. There are doubtless many conclusions to be drawn from this coincidence of events - conclusions about management, and the lack thereof; conclusions about labor unions perhaps; conclusions about efficiencies, cost-cuttings and ridership trends.
February 12, 1996
On the campaign trail, Gov. Ridge had kind words to say about buses, trains and subway cars. The budget he presented last week offers mass transit a harsher reality. Candidate Ridge spoke eloquently about a fostering an "intermodal" transportation policy that wouldn't neglect mass transit. But Gov. Ridge is not putting state funds behind that fine rhetoric. Transit funding remains absolutely flat in this budget. Unless the legislature forces a change, for the second year in a row SEPTA, the state's largest transit agency, will get $160 million less in vehicle-overhaul funds and flexible federal highway dollars than it received in Gov. Casey's final year.
August 26, 1991
"It's about time we saw the color of (U.S. Transportation Secretary Samuel K.) Skinner's and President Bush's money!" demanded Gov. Casey, in a burst of exuberance after the state had almost miraculously come across with $200 million in dedicated funds for mass transit. It's a fair request. Gov. Casey, to the surprise of many (not least among them the Inquirer Editorial Board), provided crucial leadership during a prolonged battle to establish a dedicated funding base for SEPTA and 37 smaller transit systems across the state.
June 17, 2002 |
A recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau shows an alarming transportation trend: Philadelphians are driving cars more and more and using mass transit less and less. For Philadelphia, which is working hard to make itself a world-class city, this is a troubling sign. We're acting more like auto-dependent Dallas or Los Angeles, rather than train- and-bus-friendly New York, London or Paris. According to 1990 census statistics, 44.7 percent of all people driving to Center City drove alone.
June 17, 1991
Mass transit advocates in the U.S. Senate are trying to figure out how to get President Bush not to hate trains and buses as much as he hates broccoli. It's a laudable if daunting challenge. The President, like his predecessor, loves highways. It's probably no coincidence that the carhuggers in the great Republican heartland also love highways more than mass transit. Despite the long odds, U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat from New York, is making headway with a bill that would allow states the option of spending a large chunk of a new $113 billion highway bill for mass transit.
December 9, 1992
Amid the talk about how much new legislation President-elect Bill Clinton will be able to get enacted during his first hundred days, it might be a source of comfort to the President (and the public) to know that there is at least one campaign promise he can keep without passing any new laws. The promise involves mass transit. "We are on a threshold of a new era for public transportation," Mr. Clinton told the American Public Transit Association in October. The necessary law for accomplishing this is indeed already on the books; all that's needed is to fully fund it. The program is known as ISTEA, which is pronounced just like the name of the rap singer Ice-T (but is no relation)
March 13, 2007 |
For the first time in nearly half a century, Center City vehicle traffic dropped while mass-transit ridership was up, according to new data from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. After decades of increasing dependence on the automobile, the question is whether this a blip or the beginning of a transforming trend. The numbers were gathered in 2005, when gas prices rose sharply after Hurricane Katrina. Experts say that may have been a big factor. The number of vehicles crossing Center City's boundaries was about 1.015 million on a typical weekday in 2005, down slightly from 1.020 million in 2000, according to the commission's preliminary, unpublished data.
March 14, 1991 |
Chester County should invite private companies to offer bus service in the traffic-choked Exton area, the county Planning Commission said yesterday. SEPTA offers most of the mass transit now available in the clogged Route 30 corridor of central Chester County between Exton and Coatesville. The commission endorsed a study of mass-transit needs in central Chester County done over the last 12 months by a Philadelphia consulting firm. The study by Abrams-Cherwony Associates estimated that adding enough bus lines to serve the potential growth could cost up to $4 million over nine years.