SHARON HILL, PA – SEPTA gathered with local elected officials today to discuss weather resiliency projects that will now move forward thanks to a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Emergency Relief Program grant. The event was held at SEPTA’s Sharon Hill Trolley Station, near the site of a flood mitigation effort that will be undertaken thanks to the grant.
A total of seven projects targeting these types of flood prone areas, power systems and other key infrastructure that is vulnerable in severe weather will be tackled with the grant. The projects are designed to harden these core transit elements to protect them from weather-related impacts, and boost SEPTA’s overall resiliency to severe storms. The funding is the result of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, which was approved in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
SEPTA’s needs were detailed in the authority’s Infrastructure Resilience Program, and the FTA funding was secured with the help of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation.
U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. said he highlighted SEPTA’s needs in discussions with Federal Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and lauded Foxx’s effort to “look closely at this issue.”
“These funds will play a vital role in helping SEPTA rebuild from the damage done by Hurricane Sandy and create a stronger foundation to protect against future storms,” Casey said. “Natural disasters can happen to any community. It’s important that the federal government stand ready to help communities rebuild from natural disasters.”
U.S. Rep. Robert A. Brady (PA-01) noted the role SEPTA plays in keeping the region moving in discussing the need for these improvements.
“This funding will help SEPTA prepare for future storms and keep passengers safe and service on time,” Brady said. “Southeastern Pennsylvania’s businesses, residents and visitors depend on SEPTA’s vital services each and every day. I was proud to lead the Southeastern Pennsylvania delegation in support of this important project.”
U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (PA-07) said the resiliency projects are key to the region’s economic health.
“Countless commuters rely on SEPTA to get to and from work every day and as all of the residents of our region know, when SEPTA service comes to a halt, much of the economic activity in our region comes to a halt as well,” Meehan said. “But with appropriate federal support and oversight, we can identify key parts of the transit system most at risk during severe weather – and make the necessary modernizations and renovations to ensure that they don’t become choke points that clog the entire system.”
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA-02) credited the FTA for recognizing SEPTA’s needs.
“These projects will enhance SEPTA’s service and infrastructure in Philadelphia and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, marking improved service and safety for the millions of riders who utilize SEPTA rails each week,” Fattah said. “SEPTA’s transit arteries allow our community to travel to and from work, home, and school, and it is integral that we maintain and continue to upgrade our rail infrastructure, especially as we respond to increased severe weather.”
U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz (PA-13 ) noted the Jenkintown Flood Mitigation Project, one of the largest efforts funded by the grant, as an example of the critical transit infrastructure work that will be tackled.
“I strongly support SEPTA’s continued efforts to enhance the infrastructure of our regional transit system in the face of severe weather,” Schwartz said. “This grant award from the federal Department of Transportation will make significant capital improvements to the system. I was proud to support SEPTA’s grant application.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA-06) said these types of projects will “minimize the impact severe weather has on the safety and reliability of transportation services.”
“The tens of thousands of constituents in my district who rely on SEPTA to get to work every day know that when service shuts down due to severe weather, it’s not just a big headache. It can often mean smaller paychecks because people can’t get to the office or the job site,” Gerlach added. “So I support SEPTA’s efforts to be better prepared to withstand and rebound from severe weather challenges.”
SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. “Pat” Deon said the FTA grant will help keep riders and the Philadelphia region moving in challenging conditions.
“We are grateful to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Delegation for their efforts to ensure SEPTA’s needs were addressed with the FTA Emergency Relief Program award,” Deon said. “SEPTA looks forward to completing these projects and delivering improvements to our riders and the region.”