PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — SEPTA has plans for the money it hopes to receive in the infrastructure bill. SEPTA will also receive a $15 million grant. Once it receives the money, the transportation authority has plans to improve its stations.
Engineering and construction teams are already gearing up to start work on two trolley stations with high traffic volumes.Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro Tests Positive For COVID-19
A number of SEPTA stations lack elevators for people with disabilities to get around.
“Some of us come downstairs and we fall and stuff like that,” Jeff Wilson, of West Philly, said. “The elevator is more secure.”
For Wilson and others commuting to and from West or Southwest Philly, a $15 million RAISE grant will renovate the 19th and 37th Street trolley stations to reflect ADA accessibility.
“It will be great for a lot of us,” Karen Atkinson, of West Philly, said. “Me being on dialysis. Them steps kill me.”
“It increases my mobility because of my back and my knees,” Beth Banevich, of Drexel Hill, said. “I have arthritis.”
Pre-pandemic, about 80,000 commuters depend on the trolley network each day. Construction will increase capacity in cars by 167%, add a maintenance facility for servicing, and improve tunnel communication. In addition, over 38,000 permanent jobs will be added. Plus, the local economy will benefit.READ MORE: Pennsylvanians To Cast First Ballots Under Redistricted Maps
“It also creates jobs and requires us to buy materials and get our products from a variety of businesses,” Leslie Richards, the general manager of SEPTA, said. “Some of them local businesses.”
And there’s more.
SEPTA anticipates getting $120 million from the newly signed national federal infrastructure bill. It may sound like a nice chunk, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s only a drop in the bucket.
“That will be huge, unfortunately, our state of good repair project list is at $4.6 billion, so we still have to prioritize,” Richards said. “We still have to figure out how that money gets spent.”
And in the meantime, figure out ways to leverage additional funds in order to get all of the agency’s projects done.
Richards said employee and customer safety is always at the forefront.MORE NEWS: VOTER GUIDE: Pennsylvania Primary Election 2022
For the two stations that will get the initial work, SEPTA will determine if they’ll remain open during construction.