New local taxes eyed for mass transit financial woes

(The Center Square) – The financial crunch facing Philadelphia public transit weighs heavily on the minds of some state lawmakers.

That’s why the House Democratic Policy Committee met Tuesday to discuss the importance of filling the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority’s $240 million budget deficit.

“Public transit is really a lifeline to my community that I represent,” Rep. Ben Waxman, D-Philadelphia, said. “It is the thing that connects us all together.”

“We need to find a new way to think about and finance our transit systems,” he added.

Though SEPTA officials have warned about “difficult decisions” for more than a year that could include service cuts and fare increases, state officials have been slow in proposing changes. Waxman introduced a bill last April that would allow local taxes to fund public transportation, but it has seen no movement.

Now, after Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal for reapportionment of the sales tax to partially fund
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