Transportation Funding a Win for All

Posted on January 20, 2016 by Heather Redfern - Also by this author

One of the projects SEPTA was able to undertake with the ACT 89 funding is the replacement of the Crum Creek Viaduct on its Media/Elwyn Regional (commuter) Rail Line.
Photo: SEPTA
One of the projects SEPTA was able to undertake with the ACT 89 funding is the replacement of the Crum Creek Viaduct on its Media/Elwyn Regional (commuter) Rail Line.
Photo: SEPTA
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was passed by Congress on Dec. 3 and signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 4,  2015 will provide essential, long-term federal funding for critical transportation needs — $305 billion over five years.

With more money from the federal level, transit agencies will be able to make crucial infrastructure fixes, replace vehicles and possibly dust off “wish list” improvements projects long-shelved due to lack of capital. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) knows what a difference government support of public transportation can make.

“Two years ago, we had a $5 billion state-of-good-repair backlog that was estimated to grow to at least $6.5 billion by 2023 without additional capital funding,” said SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel. “We had been experiencing record ridership, especially on our Regional [commuter] Rail lines, but without money for infrastructure repairs and aging vehicle replacement, the authority would have been forced to implement a drastic Service Realignment Plan that would have greatly downsized the SEPTA rail network over 10 years.”

Fortunately for riders in the five-county Greater Philadelphia Region served by SEPTA, the authority did not have to enact its “Doomsday” plan. In Nov. 2013, the bipartisan Pennsylvania state legislature passed Act 89, providing $2.3 billion for the Commonwealth’s transit systems and highways. SEPTA projected that within five years of Act 89’s passing, the authority’s annual Capital Budget would exceed $600 million — more than double the $300 million annual amount SEPTA had available for improvements in each of four years prior to the legislation.

SEPTA is replacing this 925-foot-long, 100-foot-high bridge, which was originally constructed in 1895 and repaired in 1983.Photo: SEPTA
SEPTA is replacing this 925-foot-long, 100-foot-high bridge, which was originally constructed in 1895 and repaired in 1983.Photo: SEPTA

“We were ready to put our new funding to use immediately,” said Knueppel. “We had basic infrastructure projects that would preserve the safety of our system ready to go — all we needed was the capital.”  

In December 2013, SEPTA unveiled its aggressive new capital campaign, now known as “Rebuilding the Future.” “Now we’re using funds to make sure the ‘Doomsday’ plan doesn’t come true,” said Knueppel.

“This is an exciting time for our organization, our riders and our region,” Knueppel added. “We are not just replacing infrastructure and vehicles in kind; we are doing our projects with safety, customer experience and capacity enhancements in mind.”

Congress’ passage of the FAST Act will help SEPTA continue its capital improvements programs for the foreseeable future. “We are fortunate to be represented in Congress by members who recognize the important role of public transportation,” said Knueppel. “Investing in infrastructure and new vehicles enhances service for SEPTA’s more than 1.1 million daily riders and is critical to the region’s economic competitiveness.”

Heather Redfern is the Public Information Manager for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

Check out Heather's previous blog: Passenger Etiquette: Taking Rudeness Out of the Ride
View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More Transit Dispatches Blog Posts

July 19, 2017

Reimagining the Public Transportation Rider Experience for the Digital Age

Transit systems move millions of people each day, getting us to where we need to go, influencing our moods, and shaping our collective stories. But, faced with fluctuating ridership, uncertain budgets, and the sky-high expectations of a digital savvy customer — open app, get car — how can centuries-old transit systems keep up?

July 12, 2017

The Case for Outcome-Based Procurement in Transit

Would you buy cash-handling services and dictate to the security firm what type of armored truck and cash counters to use? By the same logic, why would you buy an innovative transit product or platform and mandate how the vendor designs the technology? You likely would not — and why would you?

June 14, 2017

Why Investing in 'Half Measures' When Hiring Frontline Employees Will Bring Public Transit to Its Knees

The public transit industry faces a severe human resources crisis... we began to focus on the science behind identifying and hiring more resilient human beings up front, in order to make it easier to build resilience and preparedness with employees once they are onboard.

June 7, 2017

Making it Easier to Do Business with the Transit Industry

Doing business with a large transportation organization is not as daunting as one might think.The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority uses technology and in-person networking to facilitate relationships with companies pursuing opportunities with the authority.

May 30, 2017

The Evolution of Streetcar Technology

While streetcars may seem like an old fashioned or nostalgic mode of transportation, today’s streetcar is far from your grandmother’s trolley. The modern streetcar has evolved in major ways in response to shifts in community needs as well as technological advances.

See More

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close