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
Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman
Room 545 Main Capitol, Harrisburg PA 17120
Internet Website:


PHONE: 717-787-5662 


ARRISBURG, January 31, 2007 – Fixing the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority’s (SEPTA) funding problem is vital to the entire region around Philadelphia, and will require a regional solution under Harrisburg leadership, state Sen. Vince Fumo (D-Philadelphia) said today.
     During a panel discussion at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s annual government affairs conference, Fumo said transportation issues will be among the biggest challenges that Governor Rendell and Legislature will face as they develop the state budget for the 2007-08 fiscal year and beyond.
     “We have to pump significantly more resources into our highways, bridges and mass transit systems throughout the state,” Fumo said. “It will require creative funding ideas, it will require political courage, and it will require bipartisan cooperation.”
     Fumo’s main focus will be providing a dependable long-term funding source that will grow with the economy for mass transit. Tax code changes have eroded previous state revenue sources since the late 1990s, and the federal government eliminated operating support about a decade ago. The result has been a steadily mounting money problem for transit. Last year, the governor “flexed” $400 million of federal transportation money to keep the systems running, but that was a short-term fix.
     Fumo represents an area covered by the largest transit system in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the nation. SEPTA, which serves the five-county region in the southeast, has 75 percent of the state’s public transportation ridership.
     “One of my top priorities in developing the budget this year will be guaranteeing SEPTA and the state’s other transit systems a steady revenue stream,” Fumo said.
     “Mass transit is in a sense the lifeline of a regional economy,” he added. “Workers in both the cities and suburbs rely on it to get to and from their jobs. That means, by extension, that businesses depend on it, also. And it impacts non-riders, because without effective mass transit, our highways would face gridlock. Commuter trips would be longer, cars would burn more gasoline, and parking would be less available and more expensive.”
     Two years ago, Fumo proposed an increase in the realty transfer tax as the most viable funding source for mass transit. He also believes revised state funding formulas, updated farebox collection systems, long-term capital investment, and fare increases, among other things, must be part of the answer.
     Fumo played an important role in solving several earlier mass transit funding crises. He helped to create the Public Transportation Assistance Fund in 1991, which was designed to provide about $200 million in dedicated state funding for mass transit. Revisions of tax laws, especially levies on public utilities in the wake of the state deregulating electric generation in 1996, cut deeply into those funding sources. In 1997, the state also dedicated a portion of the sales tax to transit, but the amount is capped at $75 million and therefore has not recently grown with inflation.

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