Pennsylvania lawmakers urge funding for SEPTA

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Pennsylvania’s Democratic congressional delegation on Jan. 16 sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, urging continued investment in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

In July, when federal pandemic aid reserve expires, the agency forecasts a $240 million annual operating deficit. Last month, the Pennsylvania state budget did not include an increase in state public transit funding.

SEPTA had pushed for a funding increase which would have meant approximately $190 million more for the agency. An increase would prevent a likely fare hike and severe service cuts, as many as 20 percent fewer rides overall.

“We are at a critical juncture for transit in the Philadelphia region,” the letter said.

“Without strong, sustained federal support, Pennsylvanians risk losing transit access entirely. However, we shouldn’t set the bar so low – Pennsylvanians deserve a world-class transit system that is efficient, fast, safe, and comprehensive. As the Department of Transportation continues its critical work, we urge you to prioritize SEPTA and Pennsylvania’s transit systems.”

In 2022, SEPTA provided transportation for nearly 150 million riders.

The letter was signed by U.S. Sens. John Fetterman (D-PA) and Bob Casey (D-PA), and U.S. Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA).