Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, Senator Robert P. Casey Jr., Representatives Chaka Fattah and Jim Gerlach, Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's (SEPTA) general manager Joe Casey today reviewed several SEPTA facilities that are in significant need of infrastructure improvements.
"Addressing the significant maintenance and repair needs of our nation's aging bus and rail systems is a high priority for the Obama Administration and critical to providing reliable and efficient transit services that millions of Americans depend on daily," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The group toured transit stations, electric substations and rail bridges that highlight the need for federal funds to bring the nation's transit systems into a state of good repair. These facilities included:
- City Hall Station in Philadelphia, opened in 1928, which has had no major renovations and is currently experiencing tunnel leaks, deteriorating ceilings, crumbling platforms and accessibility issues;
- A power substation at Jenkintown that has been operating with outdated circuits and electrical equipment from the 1930s; and
- A bridge on the Norristown High Speed Line that is over 100 years old and has extensive corrosion of steel components.
"SEPTA's aging infrastructure is one example of a larger national challenge that exists at our older, larger transit systems like Boston, Cleveland, New York, Chicago and San Francisco," Rogoff said. "When commuters get on a bus or train to get to work, they expect that the trains are reliable, the overpasses are sound, and the buses are maintained, which is why we must continue to tackle this backlog."
In April, the Department of Transportation announced a $3.98 million grant to SEPTA for the renovation of its Wayne Junction Intermodal Facility. The sixth largest metropolitan transit authority in the nation, SEPTA has been in operation from the early 1960s and serves nearly four million people in and around Philadelphia. This project was selected through the $775 million Fiscal Year 2010 State of Good Repair Grant Program funded from the Formula and Bus Grant appropriation.
The Department announced in June that it is making available an additional $750 million to transit agencies across the country for infrastructure improvements through its Fiscal Year 2011 State of Good Repair initiative. The program is designed to help transit providers deliver safer, more reliable rides, operate more efficiently and lower fuel costs.
According to the National State of Good Repair Assessment Study released in June 2010, the estimated cost of bringing the nation's rail and bus transit systems into a state of good repair is close to $78 billion. The report drew on data from 43 of the nation's rail and bus operators in both rural and urban areas.