Obama’s proposed boost to transportation funding inspires ideas at SEPTA

    With a new $50 billion round of federal help to transportation projects on the White House’s agenda, some stalled SEPTA projects might get back on track.

    President Obama wants to spend $50 billion on improving roads, railways and runways to create jobs. SEPTA’s Chief Financial Officer Richard Burnfield has a long list of what to do with the money to improve local transit.

    There are antiquated electrical substations, roof repairs, and of course the long-awaited new fare system with smart card technology.  That project has been stalled for lack of money.

    “We were hoping at the state level the Act 44 program would be fully-funded.  But whenever there was the decision not to approve the tolling of Interstate 80, that created a big shortfall in our capital budget this year,” Burnfield says. “So we were moving ahead with design for the projects – ready to move into construction – but then when you experience a 25% cut in your capital budget, a lot of these projects can’t move forward.”

    Burnfield says SEPTA will also look for funding to upgrade Philadelphia’s City Hall subway station, for the first time since 1928.

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