SEPTA released its proposed Fiscal Year 2024 Capital Budget and 12-Year Program. The proposed Capital Budget is $976 million – just shy of last year’s record-breaking billion-dollar plus plan, while the proposed 12-Year Program represents SEPTA’s largest-ever investment in the system at $12.6 billion.
There will be two public hearings about the Capital Budget, with sessions on May 10 at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. For the first time in four years, SEPTA will offer an in-person option for public participation at the hearings, which will be held at SEPTA Headquarters. Participation will also continue to be offered virtually. The SEPTA Board will consider the proposal at its June meeting. If approved, it will go into effect with the start of Fiscal Year 2024 on July 1.
Guided by SEPTA Forward, the Authority’s Strategic Plan, this proposal lays out SEPTA’s vision for continuing core infrastructure improvements and advancing projects of significance for the region. This historic investment transforms SEPTA’s legacy system into a lifestyle network that can be easily used for any type of trip – not just traditional 9-to-5 commutes to work. With travel trends changing post-COVID, SEPTA is making transit more useful for more people.
“Investing in transit is an investment in our climate; equitable access to opportunities; public health and safety; and economic strength,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “We are grateful to our elected officials for recognizing this and delivering the capital funding we need to create a transit system that works for everyone.”
This Capital Program advances several SEPTA Forward initiatives, including:
- Trolley Modernization: $1.63 billion for vehicle acquisition and infrastructure upgrades
- Market-Frankford Line Railcar Replacement: $950 million for vehicle acquisition, infrastructure upgrades, and a new signal system
- Regional Rail Fleet Replacements: $650 million to initiate the replacement of 50-year-old railcars
- Wayfinding Improvements: $40 million for signage, real-time information, and website/mobile app upgrades
- State of Good Repair & Safety: $3.6 billion to rehabilitate and modernize the legacy system for a state of good repair
- Accessibility for All: Nearly $1 billion to provide full ADA accessibility at 45 Rail Transit & Regional Rail stations over the next 12 years. By the end of this 12-year program, 100% of subway/elevated and trolley stations will be ADA accessible.
- Bus Revolution: $163 million for end-of-line facilities and transit prioritization improvements
Thanks to new and expanded funding sources, this Capital Program reflects a strong commitment to transit. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and newly-bondable state funding under Act 89 form the core of this budget. Nevertheless, SEPTA continues to lag peer agencies in the amount of state and local funding for transit investment.
“Despite higher-than-ever funding levels, we are still not keeping up with our peers or even our own backlog of needs,” said Richards. “SEPTA still requires additional state and local resources to maximize billions of dollars in federal competitive funds that are available under the IIJA. We are determined not to leave any money on the table.”
SEPTA’s State of Good Repair backlog has grown to $5.1 billion, up from $4.6 billion, largely due to the impacts of inflation on the cost of materials and construction. The Authority made the difficult decision to pause the King of Prussia Rail project, which fell victim to rising construction costs and a lack of state and local resources to match available federal funding.