Media, Pa. - council: save SEPTA Media/Elwyn Regional Rail
- Delaware County Daily Times has published a story about the efforts of Media Borough Council to save the SEPTA Media/Elwyn Regional Rail line. It's one of the first targeted for closure if the Philadelphia area transit agency is forced to adopt "doomsday" austerity budgeting because of inadequate state funds to rehabilitate aging rail system infrastructure. Among the lines set for closure is the Doylestown portion of the Lansdale/Doylestown Regional Rail line. The state legislature was set to return Monday (Sept. 23) after a 2-1/2 month summer recess. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's capitol correspondent took a look at the transportation funding issue as lawmakers reconvened. Texts of both stories follow:[end text]
"Media council pushes to save SEPTA's Media-Elwyn lineBy SUSAN L. SERBIN
Times CorrespondentPosted: 09/22/13, 11:34 PM EDT
MEDIA — Borough council is not waiting for SEPTA to cut the power to the R3, Media-Elwyn line.
The board authorized a letter to all local state legislators, urging funding for SEPTA at a level which will enable infrastructure repairs to keep the line running.
President Brian Hall referred to SEPTA’s release of a service realignment plan as the “Doomsday” plan.
In it, SEPTA announced a review of routes and need for work.
Hall said his understanding was that the Media-Elwyn line was near or at the top of the list.
Although decisions have not been made, Hall encouraged residents to contact Sen. Ted Erickson, R-26, of Newtown, Rep. Tom Killion, R-168, of Middletown, and Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester.
“Mass transit is important to Media residents and the riders coming into the county seat. The legislature needs to fund SEPTA,” said Hall.
According to SEPTA’s report, the Media 101 trolley, which celebrated its centenary in April, may also be in jeopardy.
The report cited the bridge over Crum Creek as a particular concern, as well as the cost of rolling stock for trolleys.
Hall moved for authorization to send such a letter, but Councilman Paul Robinson said he thought it was premature.
Robinson’s impression was that Mayor Bob McMahon may have already been in contact with the legislators on the “seriousness” of the issue.
“(Council) can move on it later. I think it is jumping the gun,” said Robinson.
Council persons Monica Simpson and Eric Stein said they believed such action was appropriate since the legislature will be in budget talks upon reconvening.
The 5-1 vote, with Robinson opposed, was to forward a letter which will be signed by Hall and McMahon, but likely not include all name of council members.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review published a story from its capitol correspondent in Harrisburg about the mop-up legislative sesison and here is the excerpt about transportation:
"House Republicans may take a small bite of the transportation issue.
Members may consider a $500 million bill rather than the Senate's $2.5 billion bill that would lift the cap on the wholesale gas tax as the primary funding source.
That hit an obstacle in the House, where many members objected to the tax.
“I have always contended the amount is too high,” (House Majority Leader Mike) Turzai, (R-Bradford Woods), said. “We ought to be looking at the critical transportation needs of the commonwealth.”
The House GOP plan under consideration would allocate $400 million for critical needs, primarily structurally deficient bridges, and $100 million for mass transit. The revenue source is unclear.
“That won't fly,” said House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont.
Motorists and transit riders “need a comprehensive solution, not a piecemeal plan that shortchanges them.”Brad Bumsted is state Capitol reporter for the Tribune-Review.
Edward B. Havens