Making public transit funding a focal point, Gov. Josh Shapiro announced that he will propose that the state increase its share of the costs by nearly $1.5 billion over the next five years.
The governor’s plan calls for the state to boost its share of public transit funding by 1.75 percent which works out to $282.8 million per year.
“Hundreds of thousands of people across our Commonwealth rely on public transit every day to commute to work, go to school, and get to where they need to go – and Pennsylvanians deserve clean, safe, cost-effective ways to travel throughout our cities and towns,” said Shapiro. “That’s true all across our Commonwealth, whether you’re traveling to work in Philadelphia on SEPTA or you’re a student in Pittsburgh using PRT to get to school.
“Investing in and improving our public transit systems is a commonsense way to create good-paying jobs, spur economic development, and help Pennsylvanians reach their destinations safely. For months, my Administration has worked with local public transit leadership and elected officials to understand their needs and I now call on the General Assembly to join me in making the first significant investment in Pennsylvania’s public transit systems in over a decade.”
The proposal is a piece of Shapiro’s plan to spur economic growth, attract new companies to the Commonwealth and prepare for upcoming major events in Pennsylvania, including America’s 250th birthday, the FIFA World Cup and the 2026 Major League Baseball All-Star game.
With SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) facing a deficit that totals approximately $240 million this year, the timing of Shapiro’s proposal could not come at a better moment, as SEPTA considers service cuts and rate fares among other radical options to reduce costs.
“I want to thank Governor Shapiro – who has been proactively engaged with SEPTA and our partners for months in order to construct this strong funding proposal to address our most pressing needs and enable SEPTA to continue serving our communities,” said SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards. “The Governor knows how critical public transit is for Southeastern Pennsylvania, and his proposal would deliver the critical funding we need – providing additional support for SEPTA for the first time in over a decade.”
“Ever since I was a State Representative and County Commissioner in Montgomery County, I have supported SEPTA and the critical services it offers to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians every day. SEPTA has presented plans to address safety and cleanliness throughout their system, and county officials have entertained a willingness to step up to the plate and increase their support – as a result, my Administration is prepared to make a major investment in SEPTA,” said Shapiro.
One of the hurdles facing the proposal is that public transit is simply not part of most Pennsylvanians’ daily life. But to Philadelphia, SEPTA is an essential part of the regional economy, as is Pittsburgh’s PRT (Pittsburgh Regional Transit).
“As the son of a union bus driver, I know firsthand how public transit connects our communities, opens up doors of opportunity for working families, and drives economic growth,” said Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis. “Pittsburgh Regional Transit helps tens of thousands of people in Southwest Pennsylvania every day, and I’m proud the Shapiro-Davis plan would enable PRT and other public transit systems to better serve their riders and communities.”
If enacted, the governor’s plan would establish the largest increase in the state’s share of public transportation funding since 2013 legislation earmarked $450 million yearly from the Pennsylvania Turnpike.