PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Nate Benefield from the Commonwealth Foundation voiced his opposition to SEPTA workers going on strike during an interview with Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, pointing out that most of the money the transportation agency receives comes from the legislature.
“SEPTA gets about half of its money, half of its operating budget, from the state and 60 percent of its capital budget, meaning of all the trains and structures and everything, that comes from the state as well. It’s more than half funded from the state rather than, certainly, from riders or even from local taxes.”
He said that even a large portion of the money collected from highway tolls go to SEPTA.
“What may even be more shocking is that most of that money is targeted on drivers from vehicle fees that were just raised a couple of years ago and even the turnpike is sending money to SEPTA. So, if you’re riding the turnpike and seeing the tolls go up, that money is to go to pay to SEPTA…The Turnpike Commission sends $450 million every year into mass transit systems, most of which goes to SEPTA.”
Benefield also believes that SEPTA workers should not have the right to strike, because they are public employees.
“Public sector workers should not be allowed to strike. They are, in fact, shutting down part of the government. Certainly, you may or may not think it’s essential, but most states have bans on strikes, whether you’re talking about SEPTA workers or, I think you have to look at school district level or the public universities prohibiting those sorts of strikes and fining public sector employees when they do strike.”