Pa. roads could lose over $9 million

News AASHTO Journal February 01, 2005
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As Pennsylvania legislators work to address a transit funding crisis, a Philadelphia-area planning commission has agreed to shi

As Pennsylvania legislators work to address a transit funding crisis, a Philadelphia-area planning commission has agreed to shift $9.8 million slated for road projects to assist the ailing public transportation system for the next month, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.


The Philadelphia region's Southeastern Pennsylvania Public Transit Authority (SEPTA) is facing an operating deficit of $62 million, and the Port Authority, providing service in the Pittsburgh area, is $30 million in the red.


Facing cuts in service and an increase in fees, the Delaware Valley Planning Commission, made up of counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey surrounding Philadelphia, agreed to shelve several road projects to aid SEPTA. Roughly half of the $9.8 billion came from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's ongoing reconstruction of Rte. 309 and an interchange project.


Earlier in the week, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell urged state lawmakers to move quickly on a mass-transit funding package before scheduled fare increases and service reductions affect millions in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The SEPTA board held hearings to examine a new round of fare increases. If the SEPTA board approves them, riders on the transit system would have to pay a base fee of $3 a ride.


Legislative proposals have included a half-percent boost to the statewide real-estate transfer tax, which could raise $200 million annually, the Philadelphia Daily News reported. Increases in fees on cars or dedicating a percentage of state sales tax to public transportation also have been discussed.


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