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

February 1, 2017

Overcoming obstacles in mobility on-demand public-private agreements

The recent rise of “mobility on demand” services like Uber and Zipcar has shifted society’s understanding of transportation systems and how they operate. Governments, advocates, and communities are responding by experimenting with their relationships to these services to ensure that on-demand options work with transportation networks to benefit public mobility.

January 19, 2017

D.C. event shares perspectives on today's (and tomorrow's) mobility challenges

With the transportation landscape evolving quickly in recent years — new mobility options and growing support for transit and bicycling — decision-makers face greater opportunity and unpredictability in how they can utilize and react to such options.

December 28, 2016

Why 'Tactical Transit' is the Next Big Thing

The raffish, worldwide movement known as tactical urbanism appears poised to take on a meatier role in improving transit in bus corridors. By providing low-cost, agile alternatives to lengthy street improvement processes, “tactical transit” has the ability to jumpstart virtuous cycles of increasing bus ridership by speeding up travel times, improving passenger experience, and enhancing overall perceptions of riding the bus.

December 14, 2016

SEPTA's Supervisor Training Program Helps Employees Move Up the Ladder

The AIM AD programs was designed by SEPTA to expand the pool of supervisors who are ready to move into assistant director positions in the agency's operations and engineering, maintenance, and construction divisions.

November 9, 2016

How an Innovative Plan Helped a Veteran Find Work Building Railcars

It is the early 2000s, and as the sun rises over Southern California, most people are still fast asleep. Kristian Mendoza, however, is up and getting ready for work. He doesn’t have to be in until eight, but his commute can sometimes take up to an hour-and-a-half each way. This job pays so little that he can barely afford the gas to commute to it, let alone provide the time and care he would like for his two young children.

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