Philadelphia PA - The writer of a commentary in the Philadelphia Inquirer obviously hasn't been west of the Allegheny Mountains. I was chuckling while reading Mark Bowden's commentary piece which was claiming that SEPTA was the most "short shrifted" transit system in the United States.
All Mr. Bowden needs to do is take a trip from Philadelphia over to the neglected Pittsburgh area if he wants to experience a short shrifted transit system, both financially and politically. I am still questioning how he can say SEPTA is being shorted when they receive the lion's share of state operating funding.
Approximately 75% of the state operating funding goes to SEPTA. Pittsburgh receives only about 23% with the remaining paltry 2% being split up among every other transit system in the state. SEPTA is short shrifted? Hardly.
In just about every state-wide expenditure, transit or not, the Philadelphia region receives the lions share of the payout. The reason? They have a more population as well as more powerful politicians. Mr. Bowden would probably still complain even if Philadelphia received 100% of the money.
As far as politically, SEPTA hasn't had multiple attempts by politicians to ban buses from the streets of the Center City of Philadelphia as has been pondered by politicians in Pittsburgh when they have attempted to ban buses from Downtown on multiple occasions over the years.
While I agree with Mr. Bowden that public transit across the country gets "short shrifted" as he puts it, SEPTA isn't getting the shaft as bad as he's making out in his article. Please pay Pittsburgh a visit some day and stay for a few weeks to experience PAT in all its glory. You'll leave with a whole new appreciation for SEPTA.