4/17/24: Urge City Investment in Transit in FY2025

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Transit Forward Philadelphia supports Mayor Parker's plan to increase the City’s contribution to SEPTA from $4.8 million to $7.8 million to the Capital Budget, and $109 million to $133 million to the Operating Budget. This budget increase will go hand in hand with Governor Shapiro’s $282.8 million transit funding plan, by providing the local funding required to match the increased funding from the state. 

Black-and-white picture of a 42 SEPTA bus reading "Penn's Landing" on its marquee


The combined increase in funding from both the state and the city helps to plug SEPTA’s fiscal cliff, and prevent Draconian service cuts in the second half of the year. An increased contribution to the capital budget is an integral step for allowing SEPTA to qualify for IIJA grant funding that can be used to make stations on the BSL and MFL accessible, complete Trolley Modernization, and meaningfully pursue pipe dreams like the Roosevelt Boulevard Subway.

While this funding increase is necessary, it’s also the bare minimum, both in what SEPTA needs and the amount legally required to match increased funding from the state. We would like to see a higher local investment into SEPTA, especially as Philadelphia plans to welcome large crowds for upcoming events like the World Cup and US Semiquincentennial.

Alongside transit funding, the time is now for Philadelphia to commit to planning and building a short- and long-term intercity bus terminal. As we have been reporting and advocating since the Filbert St terminal closure in June, intercity bus riders need all-weather shelter, accessible restrooms, and connections to our region's robust transit network. The existing interim solution at Spring Garden Station has numerous accessibility issues and provides insufficient shelter and services for waiting passengers. 

We’d also like to see the Parker administration commit to fully funding the Low Income Zero Fare Program, introduced last year by outgoing Mayor Jim Kenney, so it can serve the needs of all Philadelphians who qualify for it. Currently, due to the limited funding of the pilot program, Free Fare Cards are only being mailed out in a lottery system to approximately 25,000 households who meet the income criteria of 150% or below the federal poverty line. 

Lastly, we implore the School District, SEPTA, and the State Department of Education to explore allowing all students, regardless of distance from their school, to take advantage of free SEPTA transportation. The current program also restricts student access to 5:30am-8pm M-F during the school year. With many students working to contribute to their families or participating in after-hours extracurriculars and sports, expansion of hours and eligibility would increase youth engagement in the city and support family welfare at a time of increased youth violence.

The City of Philadelphia is hosting three public hearings for this year's budget, in person at the Philadelphia City Council Chambers at Room 400, as well as four "City Council in the Community" budget town halls.

Want to join in? Sign up here, and get Transit Forward Philadelphia's talking points via E-mail. We're gathering voices for E-mail testimony, and select in-person speaking at the main Public Testimony date on Wednesday, April 24, 1:30-4pm at City Hall.