Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Lawmaker says SEPTA is 'just more welfare'

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler) relishes his role as a bomb-thrower. He calls undocumented residents "alien invaders," and this week said if gay people didn't "wear their sexual desires on their sleeves" there would be no need for a nondiscrimination bill.

Lawmaker says SEPTA is 'just more welfare'

Thanks to SEPTA´s balanced budgets, the agency has been able to secure government funding, including $232 million to add 440 new hybrid buses to its fleet. (Courtney Marabella / Staff Photographer)
Thanks to SEPTA's balanced budgets, the agency has been able to secure government funding, including $232 million to add 440 new hybrid buses to its fleet. (Courtney Marabella / Staff Photographer)

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler) relishes his role as a bomb-thrower. He has called undocumented residents "alien invaders," and this week said if gay people didn't "wear their sexual desires on their sleeves" there would be no need for a non-discrimination bill.

In an eye-opening email exchange obtained by Capitolwire, an online news service, Metcalfe said mass transit subsidies were "just more welfare."

He went on to rip transit in the southeast to Rep. Tom Killion (R., Delaware) writing that "Your buses don't do a thing for my constituents. How about we pay for your state roads and bridges, and you pay for your own buses? It is only fair since we only receive funding for our roads and bridges too"

The angry exchange comes as the Senate prepares to consider a major transportation funding bill next month that would pay for bridge and road repair and support struggling mass transit systems statewide.

 

Killion launched the back and forth by noting a new report by the Pennsylvania Economy League showed 27 percent of the state’s transportation funding went to southeastern Pennsylvania counties, while that region had 32 percent of the state population and 40 percent of the state’s economic activity.

Referring to that study, Killion had this to say to Metcalfe, Capitolwire reported: “As always, I appreciate your input. If you help me pass legislation to keep all of the revenue the Southeast generates in the Southeast, we will be good to go and will never ask for anything else from the Commonwealth.

Then Rep. Rick Saccone (R., Washington) chimed in saying his constituents and many in the state, “… are fed up with, as they most often say, ‘pouring money down a black hole of inefficiency, patronage and corruption.’

Killion defended SEPTA as an essential component of the state's transportation network.

Metcalfe responded: “I appreciate your input too, but you miss the point my friend. State expenditures should go to the common interests of the state, not special interests, like subsidizing a minority of our population’s bus fare, which is just more welfare.”

Saccone added his constituents "are fed up with, as they most often say, ‘pouring money down a black hole of inefficiency, patronage and corruption.’ If these investments are necessary then the private sector should and will invest in them. I have had five town halls in the last two weeks and people are disgusted with mass transit funding."

That brought out another transit defender from the ranks of Philly area Republicans, Rep. Kate Harper of Montgomery County, who pointed out that the southeast drivers support road projects throughout the state.

“In my area, SEPTA is well-regarded even though most people have to drive to commute to work. Those who work in the city support it because it's faster and easier than battling traffic congestion every day and seniors prefer it to driving when it goes where they need it to go.

“Their rides are subsidized by the lottery which enjoys bipartisan support. Many commuters who drive support SEPTA because it gets cars off the road and out of their way. Still others recognize its benefits to cleaner air in the region. Finally let's recognize that gas taxes from SEPTA's service area support road projects all over the state. I don't see any of you opposed legislators refusing THAT subsidy. Did I miss it? Should we discuss the education funding formula? I thought we were a Commonwealth for things we deem in the general public interest. No?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About this blog

Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis and Amy Worden in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based right in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.



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