The SEPTA Board today approved Operating and Capital Budgets for Fiscal Year 2011, which begins July 1, 2010. The Board also approved a modest fare increase to help fund operating expenses.
The $1.18 billion Operating Budget factors in several costs expected to increase at a rate greater than inflation, including healthcare, prescription drugs, claims and materials and services. In addition, electricity rates are estimated to jump approximately 10 percent when rate caps expire on December 31, 2010.
The $300 million Capital Budget passed by the Board reflects $110 million in cuts due to insufficient funding from Act 44, the state law enacted in 2007 to create a dedicated source for transportation funding throughout Pennsylvania. Full funding of Act 44 was dependent on the addition of tolls to Interstate 80, but the state’s proposal for this was rejected by the Federal Highway Administration. As a result, SEPTA had to slash more than 20 projects for the coming year, including major initiatives such as new payment technology, an overhaul of the City Hall Station and plans for Elywn to Wawa service on Regional Rail. A number of station renovations, bridge replacements and other infrastructure-related projects have also been deferred.
The fare increases, which average between 6 and 8 percent system-wide, are expected to generate approximately $20.7 million in additional revenue for the Operating Budget. In crafting the fare proposal, SEPTA followed the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Transportation Funding and Reform Commission, which suggests modest, periodic fare increases. SEPTA’s last fare increase was implemented in 2007. This latest fare adjustment is consistent with changes in the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index since SEPTA’s last fare increase. There will be no change in the $2 base cash fare for trips on buses, subways and trolleys.
SEPTA also made several revisions to its initial fare proposal, based on recommendations from customers during a series of public hearings. Increases for most Regional Rail customers were reduced, and discounted fares for customers with disabilities were extended to peak hours.
For more details on SEPTA’s Operating and Capital Budgets for Fiscal Year 2011, please visit www.septa.org/reports.