SEPTA to get $643 million in federal coronavirus relief aid
The pandemic has prompted pay cuts and layoffs for the transportation authority.
SEPTA, one of the nation’s largest transportation authorities, is getting $643 million in federal stimulus relief to help stem losses from the coronavirus pandemic.
The funds are expected to be used over the next 12 to 18 months, said spokesperson Andrew Busch. SEPTA projects at least a $300 million loss of revenue through the end of June 2021.
The transportation authority is also bracing for at least a $250 million hit to subsidies, with the remaining $93 million to help supplement further losses. SEPTA has planned a $1.53 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2021, with $480.6 million coming from passenger revenue and $779.4 million from state subsidies.
“We know that there are many more challenges to come … but this is a definitely a good start,” Busch said.
SEPTA’s executive team, including General Manager Leslie S. Richards, has taken an additional 5% pay cut on top of a 10% reduction announced last month, while 669 managers and administrators also took a 10% pay reduction, Busch said Friday.
Temporary or part-time administrative employees have been laid off, he said, but he did not provide numbers.
The authority continues to face plummeting losses to ridership and revenue. Figures are down 97% on Regional Rail and nearly 80% on its transit systems. SEPTA has also severely reduced service, and most recently suspended fares and asked riders on its buses and trolleys to board using back doors and maintain social distance from others, which also protects the operators.
The SEPTA funds are part of Pennsylvania’s $1.13 billion in new transit funding through the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion federal coronavirus relief bill, Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) announced Friday.
In addition to the SEPTA funds, the Philadelphia area will get an additional $57 million. More than $162 million was allocated to the Pittsburgh region.
The region’s funding goes to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to distribute, said Casey spokesperson Natalie Adams. PATCO’s allocation is still being determined, said Delaware River Port Authority spokesperson Mike Williams.
The Federal Transit Administration announced Thursday that $25 billion in federal funding would go toward public transportation throughout the country.