The rejection by the U.S. Department of Transportation of Pennsylvania’s planned funding of highway and public transit will create a deep and long lasting effect on many major SEPTA projects.
In the immediate future, the rejection will jeopardize more than 20 projects worth an excess of $450 million dollars. At the top of the list is the much-anticipated $100 million investment in a new state-of-the-art fare collection system, and another $100 million dollars for the badly needed reconstruction of the City Hall Station of the Broad Street Line. Many of the other projects may be less visible but are critically important, such as the replacement of electrical substations on the Regional Rail system which are operating well beyond their designed lifetime.
“The loss of this funding would hobble the growth and rebuilding of the SEPTA system that our customers deserve and expect,” said SEPTA General Manager, Joe Casey. “We appreciate the efforts of Governor Rendell and state legislative leaders who have worked tirelessly to create predictable funding for public transportation and highways, as well.”
For the immediate future, SEPTA is projecting a $300 million Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2011 – reflecting cuts of $110 million due to the rejection of the Commonwealth’s funding plan in Washington. This would leave the authority with just enough money to pay for mandated expenses such as debt service, vehicle and infrastructure repairs and new equipment.
This action by Washington does not impact SEPTA’s previously announced plans for the Fiscal 2011 Operating Budget, which already proposes an average system-wide 6 percent fare increase and no service cuts.