SEPTA’s Board today approved a $1.28 billion operating budget for Fiscal Year 2014 at its regular monthly meeting.
Fiscal Year 2014 is the 12-month period from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. In July, SEPTA’s board approved a six-month spending plan while the Pennsylvania Legislature continued discussions on a state transportation funding bill, which was approved last month.
Originally, the Fiscal Year 2014 operating budget was projected to have a $38 million shortfall. However, due to SEPTA’s continued efforts to find new ways to reduce costs, this budget gap has been erased.
Significant savings came in the area of healthcare as a result of the authority’s switch to a self-insured plan, and claims payouts due to aggressive efforts to combat fraudulent lawsuits. Savings on prescription drugs, fuel and propulsion power also helped reduce projected expenses.
“SEPTA is a careful steward of the funding it receives from both taxpayers and fares and other revenues,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. “This budget and the efforts made to cut costs and fill the projected shortfall – without reducing service for riders – are examples of the fiscal discipline we employ in running the transit system.”
SEPTA continues to follow state recommendations designed to raise additional revenue through periodic fare increases, and generate new funding streams through methods such as an expanded advertising program, which has grown significantly in recent years and is projected to bring in $14 million during Fiscal Year 2014. A fare increase that went into effect on July 1, 2013 is also in keeping with this strategy, as the authority has adopted a policy of enacting cost-of-living priced fare increases every three years. This helps SEPTA ensure fare revenue will continue to increase, and also helps customers prepare their personal budgets for these regular adjustments.