Councilman proposes to investigate SEPTA advertising on city-owned property

The occasional infighting between SEPTA and the city flared up again this afternoon
when Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. introduced legislation that would allow
a committee to investigate what properties belong to the city under its
lease agreement with SEPTA but are being used by the transportation
agency to generate advertising dollars.

“We need to consider all city infrastructure for lease or sale,”
Goode Jr. said Thursday. “SEPTA sold the naming rights to AT&T
station for $3 million. That may be some of our money. SEPTA may have a
lot of our money.”

“I have already talked to SEPTA,” Goode Jr. said after the meeting.
“They’re supposed to be providing an inventory of infrastructure that
might belong to the city.”

Goode Jr. said that SEPTA had no
choice but to participate, but he didn’t expect the process to be easy.
“If SEPTA doesn’t believe it’s in their best interest – which they don’t
– they don’t have to negotiate with us,” he said.

“Essentially, at the end of the day, they don’t have an option. The
city provides them with a $50 to $60 million subsidy, which is mandated,
but we don’t have to give it to them all at once,” he said. We”I believe
we should withhold a portion of that subsidy until we have an honest
conversation about the relationship between the city and SEPTA.”

Goode said that, though the city provides the largest amount of funding to
SEPTA, as well the highest number of its fare box funds, there are only two
Philadelphia seats on SEPTA’s 15-member board.

“We can’t allow them to exploit Philadelphia without giving it adequate representation,” he said. “We have to stand our ground.”

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