To the editor:
I disagree with your April 17 editorial blaming SEPTA for service cuts and fare hikes. SEPTA management is forced to propose these cuts and hikes as a result of policies in Harrisburg and Washington DC. SEPTA has historically been governed by a board whose members over-represent the suburban counties and under-represent Philadelphia county. And this is in a state whose governor, Ed Rendell, is the first Philadelphian to hold that office since 1915. SEPTA management has always been held hostage to a governing structure designed by Pennsylvanians who do not like Philadelphia.
I think it was a stroke of genius for SEPTA to propose cuts to the transit lines affecting middle and upper-income users (and students who aspire to join their ranks one day). These transit users are much more likely than poor riders to vote, lobby, and demand a different solution from Harrisburg – which despite Rendell as governor, remains dominated by conservative anti-tax fanatics of both parties.
The problem you cite in your editorial is only one tiny symptom of a national disaster in the making – George Bush and conservatives in both parties, at the federal and state level, are determined to shift wealth and public resources upward to the wealthiest who have the least need. Students should howl in protest about transit fare hikes and service cuts, but howl not to SEPTA management. Call your conservative representatives in Harrisburg instead.