The SEPTA Board today approved Operating and Capital budgets for Fiscal Year 2013, which begins July 1, 2012. Riders will not see a fare increase for the upcoming year, and there will be no significant service changes.
The budgets reflect SEPTA’s ongoing commitment to control costs and increase efficiencies, while improving customer service and maintaining an aging infrastructure.
The $1.28 billion Operating Budget represents an increase of about three percent over Fiscal Year 2012, largely due to cost increases in areas such as healthcare, prescriptions and claims.
For the third straight year, SEPTA expects to defer dozens of improvement projects that are vital to the short- and long-term health of the transit system. The $303 million Capital Budget represents a 25 percent reduction compared to funding levels of three years ago, and will go largely toward mandates such as Regional Rail signal system upgrades and other safety improvements. The Authority must also set aside capital funds for equipment overhauls, and the purchase of new buses and paratransit vehicles to replace those that are being removed from service.
Without additional funding, much-needed upgrades – from critical overhauls to electrical substations to bridge repairs and station renovations – are pushed back indefinitely.
In recent years, SEPTA has deferred a number of projects that were expected to move forward under Act 44. Pennsylvania lawmakers passed Act 44 in 2007 to provide a dedicated source of transportation funding. Act 44, however, required new revenue streams and was never fully funded – in large part due to the federal government’s rejection of a plan to add tolls on Interstate 80.
SEPTA remains optimistic funding for infrastructure improvements will be addressed. Gov. Tom Corbett, in his state budget address in February, noted the need for a “lasting” solution for transportation funding.
“SEPTA remains focused on working with Gov. Corbett and the General Assembly on securing a long-term, growing and predictable funding source for transportation in Pennsylvania,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey.
SEPTA’s Fiscal Year 2013 Operating and Capital budgets can be viewed and downloaded at www.septa.org/reports.