Looks like people are starting to notice SEPTA union employees get betterbenefits than most of the riders.. that will have to be reformed according to an editorial in a local paper:
The Times Herald
Something with SEPTA must give
Something has to give.
Actually, several things need to give. Gov. Rendell said he will sign legislation to provide $6 million to rural transit agencies, but our state legislators need to head back to Harrisburg next week. Without additional funding SEPTA has stated that as of Jan. 1 the agency will have to fire more than 1,000 employees, raise fares and end weekend service.
There are proposals on the table to help the ailing transit authority. One would redirect $54 million in federal funds to both SEPTA and the Pittsburgh agency. This is a short-term fix. SEPTA alone is projecting a $63 million deficit next year.
Obviously, there is always the age-old and, frankly, tiresome tactic of raising taxes to shore up another government agency. While we would favor such action as a last resort, we would like our state legislators back in Harrisburg to figure out a way to raise funds without having to do so.
One measure that we have proposed and would like to do so again is for all employees in taxpayer funded positions to start paying a portion of their health care costs. SEPTA employs approximately 8,900 people. If each person paid just $50 a month for health care that would save the transit agency $5.3 million a year. We bring this up to make a point. First, $50 a month for health care would be phenomenal. Second, the majority of employees in this country pay a portion of their health care, that is except for the majority of people in taxpayer funded positions.
Something must give. Mass transit plays an important role in our area and the impact of higher fares and discontinued weekend service would be great.
There are only two days remaining in this legislative session, but that time could be well spent.
©The Times Herald 2004