Reporting Pat Loeb
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KYW Regional Affairs Council
“Harrisburg’s FAILING Grade in Philadelphia”
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — From something as small as a parking space to something as large as the convention center, dozens of areas of Philadelphia life are run by state-controlled authorities.
This system has many critics, but some of the authorities also have their defenders.
The next time you can’t find a taxicab in Philadelphia, you might as well call Mary Jo White. She’s a state senator from Erie, but she has as much say over taxis here in Philadelphia as any member of the city delegation in the Pennsylvania legislature — and more than any city official.
Taxis here are regulated by the state-run Philadelphia Parking Authority. Taxi company owner Everett Abitbol (below) says the system has its frustrations, but he acknowledges that someone has to regulate the industry.
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“I don’t think anybody else wanted the task of regulating the taxicab industry,” Abitbol tells KYW Newsradio. It has so many different facets to it and too many things to understand, and I think the Parking Authority understood how difficult it was and has done a pretty decent job to date.”
Others agree that state control doesn’t have to be a problem. The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, for example, is often singled out as a useful check on the city budget process (see related stories). In fact, Mayor Nutter says he can live with most of the state authorities overseeing his city, as long as they work.
“It’s important who’s on, who gets appointed to these things,” the mayor says, “and if everyone understands what their role is, you can work through almost anything.”
But Mayor Nutter does have his limits. He is currently backing a bill in Harrisburg that would give the mayor control of the Philadelphia Housing Authority — the city’s largest landlord — for the first time since it was created in 1937.
Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060
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