SEPTA budget maneuver to keep transit running

Posted: July 20, 2013

SEPTA took another step Thursday toward patching together a budget to keep trains and buses running while waiting for the state legislature to come up with more money.

The latest plan is to adopt a six-month, $640 million operating budget to get the agency through December.

A SEPTA board committee reviewed the plan Thursday, and the full board is expected to approve it next week.

SEPTA expects to be short $38 million for the full fiscal year, which ends June 30, if more state funding is not forthcoming. That could mean service cuts or another fare increase. Fares went up July 1.

More state funding for transit, highways, and bridges was approved last month by the Senate, but the House did not approve a funding plan, as some Republican representatives balked at proposals to raise gas taxes and motorist fees.

Gov. Corbett, who also sought more transportation funding, has urged the legislature to tackle the issue when it returns from its summer recess Sept. 24.

The SEPTA board also plans to approve what it calls an inadequate capital budget of $308 million for new vehicles and major construction projects for the full fiscal year.

SEPTA expects to get $117 million from the state and $4.2 million from the five local counties for its capital budget, with $187 million from the federal government.

The money won't be enough to meet a growing, $5 billion backlog of "state of good repair" needs and won't permit major fixes like an upgrade of the dilapidated City Hall concourse.

Instead, the capital budget will go for expenses that are federally mandated or safety-related, or are essential vehicle and infrastructure purchases, SEPTA officials said.


Contact Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com.

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