On. Jan. 24, SEPTA announced the start of a parking expansion project at the Secane Station – an initiative that will enhance service for customers at a key station on the Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line. The project also represents the official launch of SEPTA’s renewed capital improvement program, with resources provided by the state’s new transportation funding bill.
The $990,000 Secane Parking Expansion Project is moving ahead thanks to state Act 89, which was approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Tom Corbett last fall. A $21 million station reconstruction will follow, with work starting in 2015.
Gov. Corbett today joined SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale “Pat” T. Deon, Sr., SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey, State Rep. Nicholas A. Micozzie and other local officials to officially celebrate the launch of the parking expansion project, and mark the start of work to modernize the SEPTA system.
“Today, we are delivering on our promise that the benefits of transportation investment are impacting safety, putting people to work and are happening quickly,” Corbett said. “This station is just one example of long-delayed projects that can finally move forward because of this legislation.”
The 60 additional spaces to be added at the station will help accommodate continued ridership growth on the Media/Elwyn Line. Nearly 11,000 riders use the line each day, and demand on all Regional Rail lines continues to grow. Regional Rail ridership reached a record 36 million trips last year, and has increased by 50 percent over the last 15 years.
“This project is an important first step for SEPTA as we move to address some of our most critical needs, including vital infrastructure upgrades and equipment replacement,” Deon said. “SEPTA is an economic engine for the region, and this work is essential to keep us moving forward.”
Micozzie, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, heralded the arrival of work that is now possible with the new transportation funding bill in place.
“The Secane Station improvements are indicative of the types of projects that are now possible as a result of Act 89,” Micozzie said. “This comprehensive transportation funding solution is essential to the future of mass transit, roads, highways and bridges in our region and throughout the Commonwealth.”
SEPTA will begin to receive additional state capital funding provided under Act 89 this year, with the amounts growing gradually until full funding levels are achieved in approximately five years.
SEPTA plans to award contracts for more than $100 million in new capital projects in 2014 alone, including a number of improvements that have been deferred in recent years due to funding constraints. The pace of this work will increase as more funding comes in from Act 89. Within five years, SEPTA projects its annual Capital Budget to exceed $600 million – or more than double the $300 million annual amount SEPTA has had available for improvements in each of the last four years.
In addition to the Secane Station improvements, Act 89 will allow SEPTA advance a number of other projects along the Media/Elwyn Line, which has some of the system’s most pressing needs.
SEPTA this year will move ahead with projects to replace aging bridge timbers and make structural repairs on the Darby Creek, Cobbs Creek and Ridley Creek viaducts, while also preparing for the full replacement of the Crum Creek Viaduct, which dates back to the late 1800s. Other initiatives will bring long-needed overhauls to 1930s era substations, such as the Morton and Lenni facilities that are critical to the line’s operations.
Similar infrastructure upgrades will take place throughout the transit system, along with overhauls to aging facilities and stations. For example, plans will move forward on a full modernization of the City Hall Station, a core hub of the transit system that has had no major renovations since it opened in the late 1920s.
Other work expected to advance includes renewing track on trolley routes and the Norristown High Speed Line, and strategically expanding parking to address ridership growth.
SEPTA has more information on its Website about its plans to address state of good repair needs throughout the system. Specific projects are detailed in SEPTA’s “Catching Up” plan, which was announced last month during a presentation to the SEPTA board.