SEPTA says that they may be forced to cut nine regional rail lines and shorten the Norristown High Speed Line, amongst other cutbacks, if they do not receive $6.5 billion for their projects during the next decade, according to PlanPhilly.
There are estimates that the transportation authority could suffer the loss of 40.7 million trips annually, and possibly 89,000 daily transportation users, information that SEPTA shared at a Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee hearing hosted at Temple University on Thursday.
If SEPTA does not receive the extra $6.5 billion, they will have to close service on nine of their regional rail lines, leaving four lines operating, said SEPTA. They may also have to lessen service on the Media-Sharon Hill Lines, turn all of the trolley routes to bus routes, shorten the Norristown High Speed Line, terminate the Broad Street Line express service, and stop the Broad-Ridge Spur line.
Starting next year, SEPTA will ask for an extra $454 million, a number that will grow each year until 2019, when they will request $1 billion. After that, the amount will diminish each year until 2023 when it will be down to $453 million.
“You can only paint over cracks for so long,” said Greg Krykewycz, the manager of the Office of Transit, Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). “… The bill is finally coming due for lots and lots of maintenance over time.”
According to Director Barry Seymour, Executive Director of DVRPC, SEPTA’s ‘day of reckoning’ predictions call to mind PennDOT’s cautioning from several months back, when PennDOT indicated that, without additional funding, they would decrease the weight limits of up to 1,000 bridges.
The state general assembly did not settle the issue of transportation funding in the state capitol before breaking for the summer, and PennDOT subsequently decreased the weight limits on about 1,000 bridges in the state.
The SEPTA regional rail lines that may be affected:
-Cynwyd: suspended in 2014
-Media/Elwyn: suspended in 2015
-Chestnut Hill West: suspended in 2018
-Airport, Warminster, Marcus Hook/Wilmington, West Trenton, Chestnut Hill East, and Fox Chase: suspended by 2023
-Lansdale/Doylestown: shortened (at Lansdale ) in 2018
-Paoli/Thorndale : shortened (at Malvern) by 2023.
The SEPTA suburban transit that may be affected:
-Norristown High Speed Line: shortened (at Bryn Mawr) in 2016
-Sharon Hill Lines: may have reduced service in 2018, followed by a conversion to busses by 2023
The SEPTA city transit that may be affected:
-Two trolley routes: may be turned into to bus routes in 2014, and the remaining four trolley lines may be turned into bus routes in 2018
-Broad Ridge Spur: may be stopped in 2018 and
-Broad Street Subway express service: may be stopped by 2023