On Tuesday, April 10, SEPTA will present the economic impact of its transit services and infrastructure investments to the Chester County Commissioners.
A recently released report by Econsult Solutions, Inc. found that southeastern Pennsylvania is the economic engine of the Commonwealth, generating 41 percent of the state’s economic activity with 32 percent of its population – on just 5 percent of its land. Between 2010 and 2016, Southeastern Pennsylvania grew by 81,565 residents, helping the state grow by 71,884 people. According to Econsult, this degree of economic productivity and density is not possible without SEPTA services, which provide residents with efficient, affordable and reliable options to move throughout the region.
Each year, SEPTA’s Operations and Capital Program generate $2.93 billion in economic activity across the region, including $174 million in Chester County. Examples of SEPTA’s economic impact in the county include:
- The ongoing expansion of SEPTA’s Frazer Shop and Yard in East Whiteland Township. When completed by the end of 2020, the new facility will be a state-of-the-art home to SEPTA’s new locomotives and the Authority’s first ever fleet of multi-level railcars.
- Accessibility improvements to Exton Station in West Whiteland Township. Upon completion this fall, Exton Station will be fully upgraded and ADA compliant, including the construction of high-level boarding platforms, ramps and stairs, and a new station building.
- A joint Amtrak-SEPTA project to make Paoli Station in Tredyffrin Township fully accessible for all passengers, including construction of a new center high-level platform, new elevators and ramps, a pedestrian overpass, and parking lot improvements. This project will set the stage for a new, expansive Paoli Transportation Center envisioned to serve the growing needs of the traveling public.
Overall, the impact of SEPTA’s Capital Program has grown by 70 percent since the passage of Act 89, which provided the first-ever source of reliable, sustainable, dedicated funding for infrastructure investments to rebuild the system.
In a joint statement, Chester County Commissioners Michelle Kichline, Kathi Cozzone and Terence Farrell said, “Through Act 89 funding SEPTA has the resources necessary to rebuild their aging infrastructure and address its infrastructure state of good repair backlog.
“Enhanced mobility and congestion relief are vital to improving the quality of life for those living and working in Chester County, and we are pleased with the investments SEPTA is making here.”
SEPTA’s full economic impact in southeastern Pennsylvania goes beyond job creation and economic activity alone.
Econsult’s report quantified the extent to which SEPTA’s rail system increases property values. The report analyzed 315,115 suburban residential property transactions between 2005 and 2016 and found that access to SEPTA’s Regional Rail and Norristown High Speed Line adds $14.5 billion, or 7.4 percent, to suburban residential property value. In Chester County, SEPTA’s rail system is worth $1.9 billion, or 4 percent of total value. This added value supports a property tax base that funds schools and municipal services across the county. For example, SEPTA service increases residential property values on average:
- $69,382 for houses within three miles of Paoli Station
- $66,931 for houses within three miles of Malvern Station
- $36,998 for houses within three miles of Whitford Station
- $36,410 for houses within three miles of Exton Station
SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel will provide further details about the study at the 10 a.m. Chester County Board of Commissioners’ Sunshine Meeting on Tuesday, April 10. The meeting will be held in the Commissioners’ Board Room, 6th floor, 313 W. Market Street, West Chester, PA. Knueppel will also be available to talk to reporters after the meeting.
For more information about SEPTA’s economic impact, including an interactive map of property value impacts, please visit: https://www.septa.org/economic-impact.