By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As Septa continues to wait for passage of a state transportation funding bill, it got a promise today of help with some federal funding.

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At 30th Street Station, US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said he’ll urge his colleagues to lock in long-term funding for transportation.

Casey was clearly alarmed by Septa’s warning last week that nine of its 13 Regional Rail lines would stop running and other services would be sharply reduced in the next ten years without stable funding (see related story).

“The difference between where we are now in terms of options and where we would be is dramatic,” Casey said, adding that he can’t do much about the state funding but is promising to work on full funding for the federal transportation plan.

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Though Septa gets just five percent of its operating budget from the feds, it relies on them for 60 percent of its capital budget.

Septa general manager Joe Casey says it’s an urgent need.

“We’re dealing with a system that’s a hundred years old and very little investment has been made, and now it’s time to pay the piper — it’s time to rebuild the system,” Joe Casey said.

Sen. Casey (no relation) says it’s both an economic and a safety issue.

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