Congresswoman Scanlon Visits SEPTA Facilities to Highlight How New Infrastructure Law Will Improve Experience for Riders and Increase Accessibility for People with Disabilities
Philadelphia, PA, January 14, 2022
Philadelphia, PA – Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) today joined SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards to visit SEPTA facilities and discuss how the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), passed last fall, will benefit SEPTA riders in the Philadelphia region. During a press conference with Philadelphia elected officials, Rep. Scanlon and Richards specifically highlighted how federal funding will help increase accessibility at rail and trolley stations. The two later traveled to the Woodland Avenue Trolley Shop to meet with employees completing ongoing trolley rehabilitation work and discuss larger trolley modernization efforts.
SEPTA is expected to receive an extra $120 million in federal money this fiscal year on top of about $250 million the agency would get under existing formulas that were reauthorized as part of the infrastructure bill. Because the bipartisan infrastructure law authorized funding for five years, it not only gives SEPTA and other transportation agencies across the country more money — it also gives them more predictability, which helps in planning and executing major capital projects. SEPTA can also apply for new and increased competitive grants.
Federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help SEPTA to accelerate state of good repair efforts, including rehabilitation projects, vehicle replacement needs, and improving accessibility of rail and trolley stations. While all of these upgrades are needed, the forthcoming work on accessibility is especially important. SEPTA estimates needing roughly $2 billion to bring all rail stations into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so this new infrastructure funding will be crucial to accelerating ongoing and planned projects.
“Our public transit stations should be accessible to everyone,” said Rep. Scanlon. “People rely on SEPTA every day to get to work, drop their kids off at school, make a trip to the grocery store, or go to the doctor. We may take it for granted, but it creates real barriers for our neighbors when they have to plan around which station has an elevator to accommodate a wheelchair or which stops are easiest to get a baby stroller in and out of. I am glad the infrastructure funding that Congress delivered will help SEPTA get these upgrades done quicker. Our residents deserve it.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced how vital SEPTA is to residents who rely on the system to connect with essential jobs and services,” Richards said. “Now, with funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we will accelerate long-needed accessibility projects and other critical improvements to ensure we can provide safe and reliable service through the recovery and beyond.”
In the city of Philadelphia, 25 of 28 Market-Frankford Line Stations and 12 of 25 Broad Street Line Stations are fully accessible; SEPTA’s capital budget includes a commitment to make both lines fully accessible. Construction is currently underway at Susquehanna-Dauphin Station, ADA improvements at Tasker-Morris Station will break ground in early summer, and design on Erie Station accessibility improvements is expected to be completed this fall.
Snyder Station, where today’s press conference was held, is one of nine Broad Street Line Stations where design and construction will be accelerated because of the bipartisan infrastructure law. Thanks to IIJA funds, SEPTA will be able to start the design of ADA accessibility and other station improvements on eight other Broad Street Line Stations: Chinatown Station, Ellsworth-Federal Station, both Fairmount Stations on the Broad Street Line and Broad-Ridge Spur, Hunting Park Station, Logan Station, Lombard-South Station, and Wyoming Station.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is the largest investment in America’s infrastructure needs in generations. The bill includes $39 billion of new investment to modernize transit and improve accessibility; which is in addition to continuing the existing transit programs for five years as part of surface transportation reauthorization. In total, the new investments and reauthorization provide $89.9 billion in guaranteed funding for public transit over the next five years.
More information on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is available here.
Photos from the press conference at Snyder Station and tour of Woodland Avenue Trolley Shop are available for media use here.