SEPTA Wants to “Rebuild the System” With 12-Year, $7.3B Plan

The ambitious budget proposal includes an overhaul of the city’s aging transportation infrastructure (including City Hall and 15th Street stations), vehicles (electric buses and trains!) and technology.

SEPTA Fourth of July Service

L: Courtesy of Anthony Cramp

SEPTA proposed an ambitious $727.2 million budget on Monday.

The funding – which would reflect an almost $180 million increase over last year’s budget, if approved – would go toward the agency’s “Rebuilding the System” initiative, a lofty plan to overhaul the city’s aging transportation infrastructure, vehicles and technology. The initiative dates back to the 2013 passage of Act 89, legislation that revamped the state’s commitment to transportation.

SEPTA’s proposed 12-year, $7.3 billion capital program aims to provide fleets of new vehicles and to rehabilitate and replace bridges, rail and subway stations, vehicle maintenance facilities and other critical infrastructure. The budget also includes plans to update safety and security features and communication equipment that provides customers with real-time transportation information.

The plan would pull about $351 million from state funding (48 percent), about $213 million federal funding (29 percent), about $150 million through SEPTA’s capital financing (21 percent) and $11.6 million from local sources (2 percent).

About $102.9 million, 14 percent, takes SEPTA’s financial obligations into consideration, including Amtrak trackage lease and other debt service payments. The largest bulk of the proposed spending – $241.6 million, or 33 percent – would go toward new vehicles, including fully electric buses, hybrid buses and electric locomotives.

The second largest project – a proposed $99.6 million, or 13.7 percent – would go toward SEPTA Key, the city’s new fare payment system, which continued to roll out (almost completely) this month. The funding would allow for the full deployment of the fare collection system to Regional Rail and CCT Connect services.

The budget also includes $87.7 million in stations, loops and parking improvements, including rehabilitation of the City Hall and 15th Street stations in Center City. The project would provide the stations with full access for disabled riders, new elevators and ramps, widened corridors, new fare line gates, signs, lighting and closed-circuit TV.

In addition, the budget would allot $56.1 million to maintenance, $45.5 million to SEPTA’s infrastructure safety renewal program, $36.7 million to communications and technology improvements and $9.6 million to bridge repairs.

More information and detailed project plans are available on SEPTA’s website.

Public hearings on the budget are scheduled at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on April 26th at SEPTA headquarters, located at 1234 Market St. SEPTA’s board will vote on the budget on May 25th.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

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