Follow on Twitter @DanielDenvir
Funding for SEPTA and other public transit is "subsidizing a minority of our population’s bus fare, which is just more welfare," said state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), according to an e-mail discussion obtained by the Capitolwire news service (subscription only).
Metcalfe's comments were sparked by an e-mail sent out by Rep. Tom Killion (R-Delaware) citing "a new report [that] showed 27 percent of the state’s transportation funding went to southeastern Pennsylvania – Bucks, Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester and Montgomery counties – while that region had 32 percent of the state population and 40 percent of the state’s economic activity."
The Econsult report, Understanding SEPTA's Statewide Economic Value, comes as Gov. Corbett and the legislature attempt to find a long-term fix to transportation funding--and as SEPTA faces a potentially devastating budget shortfall. City Paper examined the roots of SEPTA's funding crisis last June.
Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Washington) joined Metcalfe in criticizing Killion, saying that "the core point is that opponents don't believe the taxpayers should be funding a mass transit operating fund in the first place...They are fed up with, as they most often say, ‘pouring money down a black hole of inefficiency, patronage and corruption.’ If these investments are necessary then the private sector should and will invest in them. I have had five town halls in the last two weeks and people are disgusted with mass transit funding."
Metcalfe and Saccone did not respond to the evidence presented that SEPTA, like roads and bridges, are critical to the state's economic health. Public transit investment can also save taxpayer money by curbing suburban sprawl that forces inefficient infrastructure and service spending.
Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) and Rep. Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster) came to Killion's defense, highlighting a split that is not simply partisan but geographic and, within the state Republican Party, ideological.
Metcalfe is Pennsylvania's most right-wing state legislator, known for opposing gay rights and supporting guns. He also introduced voter ID legislation and a "birther" bill that would require presidential candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens. This is a politician who says he has been "throwing around the idea of starting a heterosexual caucus" in the House. (See CP's April 2012 profile here)
Burger Watch: Bacon-Wrapped Burger at PYT
In honor of the momentous occasion that marks PYT's (1050 N. Hancock St.) 20,000th Facebook like,...
Scenes from Kensington's diehard, underground pool league
Everyone in the Jim Celebre Memorial Pool League knows that Foto Club is the team to beat. Yet...
Maybe travelling in the passenger seat of a car on a bright day, you squeeze your eyes shut against...