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Propping up transit

 

October 1, 2013 Letters to the Editor

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Regarding Dave Kalkstein’s letter of Sept. 19.

The taxpayers of Pennsylvania heavily subsidize the state’s two largest mass transit systems, SEPTA and the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Funding for mass transit continues to steadily increase. That funding should be used to fix our roads and bridges.

Each and every taxpayer subsidizes mass transit. Each year, 4.4 percent of all sales tax collected goes into a special fund for mass transit. Additionally, mass transit funding is collected through taxpayers by a 3 percent leased car tax, as well as a $1 tire fee and $3 per day rental car fee.

Even though every taxpayer of Pennsylvania pays for mass transit, only 5.3 percent of Pennsylvania’s workforce commutes via public transportation. In reality, most taxpayers will never use mass transit.

Over the past fiscal year, state taxpayers were the largest contributors to SEPTA’s budget, subsidizing 48 percent of its annual operating revenues. State taxpayers also subsidized the Port Authority’s budget at 50 percent of its annual operating revenues. Additionally, both mass transit agencies received federal and county subsidies, also courtesy of the taxpayers.

Tax and fee increases to further subsidize mass transit are the wrong answer. We should instead look to take funding from our bloated mass transit systems and use it to fix our core infrastructure.

The taxpayers are taxed enough already.

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