News reports today indicate SEPTA (the public transit agency serving the Philadelphia region) came to an agreement with the Transportation Workers Union Local 234—ending a six-day strike just before election day.
The agreement terms are not available, but SEPTA Chairman Pat Deon says:
It provides for wage increases, pension improvements, and maintains health care coverage levels while addressing rising costs.
Who will pay for this?
Currently, 49 percent of SEPTA’s operating budget comes from state taxpayers—almost double the average among transit systems nationally. In addition, 60 percent of SEPTA’s capital budget (i.e., funding for infrastructure improvement and new trains and buses) comes from the state.
What most people may not realize is most of this funding doesn’t come directly from taxes—though both the sales tax and lottery revenue subsidize transit systems. Rather, more than $925 million in driver charges, including Turnpike tolls and vehicle fees, are diverted to transit agencies, primarily SEPTA.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports SEPTA will pay for the additional costs of the new agreement “out of its budget.”
Deon, who credited Evans with helping resolve the impasse, said SEPTA had the money in its budget to pay for the deal, and no new funds were needed.
So, we can expect SEPTA won’t ask for an increased state subsidy? Or maybe will even refund some of the excess revenue to state taxpayers and motorists? Right?