SOME HELP ON THE WAY
SEPTA may be in line for a one-shot infusion of flexible funding as one part of a solution out of the budget crisis. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is considering transferring $15 million in state highway funding originally earmarked for reconstruction of PA 309 in the Fort Washington area. Rehabilitation of the PA 309 segment between Haws Rd and Highland Av in Upper Dublin and Whitemarsh Twps and the interchange between PA 309 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike is being delayed due to enviromental issues. A portion of the earmark for that project - $15 million - would be transferred to SEPTA pending approval by the full DVRPC Board later this month.
The $15 million that would be "flexed" will be put towards day-to-day maintenance of the bus and rail fleet. The issue is a major concern at some depots, but none more so than Midvale, which reports several Neoplan artics out of service due to a parts shortage.
SEPTA is also stepping up efforts in Harrisburg to restore the $15 million in state funding cuts for this fiscal year. A third strategy, which would net $11 million in added savings, combined with restored state funding and the transfer of the PA 309 funds to SEPTA, would resore the $41 million shortfall for this fiscal year.
SEPTA's counterpart in Pittsburgh, the Port Authority of Allegheny County, recently recieved a $10 million in funding via the Southwestern Pennsylvania Planning Commission (the DVRPC counterpart in the Pittsburgh area) for the same reason. PAAC is facing a $19 million budget gap and was planning even more draconian cuts than what SEPTA was planning.
PROBLEMS ON WEST CHESTER PIKE
An accident along Lansdowne Av near Cobbs Creek (right before it becomes State Rd) caused major delays along West Chester Pike and Market St towards the end of the morning peak. As a result, most West Chester Pike buses - the 103, 104, 110, 111, 112, and 123 were delayed anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes as traffic was diverted off of State Rd via West Chester Pike and Market St into West Philadelphia. The 9:10am 112 Express to Delaware County Community College (5142/4490 block) left 20 minutes late due to its late arrival coming in from Lawrence Park. The 8:05am 104 West Chester Express (5588/4225 block) was 20 minutes late arriving into Newtown Square. Those were just a couple of the delays caused by the State Rd/Lansdowne Av shutdown.
This is the second time in the past week that service along West Chester Pike was impacted due to problems beyond SEPTA's control. Last Wednesday, a fire at the Elizabeth Court Apartments at 7100 West Chester Pike forced all West Chester Pike buses off the pike and over State Rd and Victory Av to reach 69 St Terminal in both directions.