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Budget Woes Threaten SEPTA’s Stability

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Even as SEPTA moves toward a new system-wide fare hike, a report being released today finds that the transit agency’s capital needs are woefully underfunded.

The study by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and Econsult finds that SEPTA ridership is rising in part because of huge capital investments made with federal stimulus dollars back in 2009.

But that money is gone, and SEPTA’s capital budget is now at a 15-year low.

SEPTA’s current capital budget is about $300 million, but according to this study, its needs as much as $4 billion.

The report warns that the resulting delays in capital projects could have huge repercussions for SEPTA, ultimately causing it to have big problems in keeping up with the increased ridership.

In fact, the study predicts that if the capital needs are not addressed, 40-percent of SEPTA service would have to be eliminated.

That, in turn, would have huge repercussions for the city and region, with lost jobs, declining tax revenues and more people leaving mass transit.

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