By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — SEPTA is on a roll to replace some of its aging infrastructure with resources provided by the Commonwealth’s new transportation funding bill, which just took effect.
The first to see changes are riders on the Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line.
Governor Tom Corbett (seen shaking hands in above photo) rolled in on a train to Secane Station on Providence Road in Clifton Heights to talk about the immediate effects of Act 89, which include a $990,000 parking expansion. The number of spots will jump from 40 to 100. The entrance will be reconfigured to improve traffic flow, and new lighting is going in.
All told, it’s a $21-million project that includes rebuilding the station over the next two years. It was built in 1871, and it looks it.
SEPTA Board Chairman Pat Deon said it was just last year that many routes were threatened with extinction.
“We were in our board meeting literally talking about closing down, curtailing service,” he said, “which would have affected millions of people, millions of rides.”
But the state legislature narrowly approved a transportation funding measure. Within five years, SEPTA projects its annual Capital budget to exceed $600-million – or more than double the yearly amount SEPTA has had available for improvements in each of the last four years.
The bill includes a nine-cent increase in the gas tax. The full effect of the gas tax, about 28 cents, will be phased in over five years.