Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120



_____________________NEWS RELEASE

State Senator

1st Senatorial District
Room 545 Main Capitol, Harrisburg PA 17120
Internet Website:


PHONE: 717-787-5662 


     PHILADELPHIA, August 14, 2007 – Most Philadelphia students who have been paying their own fares will now ride public transit to and from school for free, under a system made possible by the new state transportation funding law enacted last month.

     As the result of additional state financial resources provided to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA), the agency has worked out a cooperative arrangement with the Philadelphia School District to furnish weekly passes to students who are eligible to receive free transportation service – those who live more than one and a half miles from the school they attend.

     “This is a long overdue step that will provide students in Philadelphia with the same service that children in Pennsylvania’s other public school districts already receive -- free transportation to and from school,” said state Senator Vince Fumo (D-Philadelphia,) who designed the new state transportation funding plan. Fumo joined Governor Ed Rendell and officials from SEPTA and the School District today at an announcement of the new weekly pass system.

     Currently, about 32,000 Philadelphia students in grades 7-12 ride SEPTA to and from school each day. (Those in lower grades have traditional school bus service.) Of those 32,000, about 14,000 receive free tokens, but the remaining 18,000 must purchase subsidized tokens at a cost of $1 each way, or $2 per day. Thus, Philadelphia families spend about $6 million per year for their children to ride to school on SEPTA. The switch will provide free weekly passes for an estimated 36,000 students.

     “While it might sound obvious, one essential component of keeping kids in school is getting them to and from school,” Fumo said. “Education is the ticket to a better future for our children, our city, and our state. Now we are able to give Philadelphia students a better ticket, literally, to their education.”

     Fumo conceived the new state transportation plan and helped propel it through the legislature in July. It will increase funding for highways, bridges and mass transit by $750 million this year, and by an average of almost $1 billion annually over the next 12 years. The revenue comes from new tolls on Interstate 80 and toll increases on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, starting in 2009. It requires no general tax hike.

     The legislation also restructures all funding for mass transit by dedicating 4.4 percent of state sales tax revenue to public transportation, replacing several separate line-item appropriations that the General Assembly previously had to approve annually. The conversion to a fixed percentage of sales tax revenue will help to ensure that the transit fund will grow with inflation.

     For SEPTA, which is the state’s largest mass transit system, the new funding plan provides an increase of more than $156 million, or 44 percent, in operating funding, to a sum of $507.8 million in the 2007-08 fiscal year. Along with new dedicated capital funding of $57.8 million, SEPTA’s total state subsidy is now $565.6 million.

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