Editor's note: This story previously stated that Cutler left the the SEPTA Board in April. That was incorrect. She continued to serve until September.
The SEPTA Board is set to have a second Philadelphia representative for the first time since September, with Mayor Jim Kenney appointing his deputy managing director for infrastructure, Clarena Tolson, to fill the vacant seat.
Philadelphia has had only one representative on the transit authority's 15-member governing body ever since Mayor Michael Nutter's former deputy mayor for transportation Rina Cutler left the board in the fall. Cutler previously left the mayor's administration in April for a job at Amtrak.
Tolson will join current city representative Beverly Coleman, who is being re-appointed to another five-year term by Kenney, according to his spokeswoman Lauren Hitt — pending City Council approval. Kenney sent the appointments to City Council Wednesday afternoon. (Update: A City Council spokeswoman said the appointments could not be voted on at Council's Jan. 21 regular weekly meeting because of procedural policy. She did not say if they would be voted on at the Jan. 28 Council meeting, which will take place only a couple hours before the SEPTA Board's first monthly meeting of 2016.)
The SEPTA Board's next scheduled meeting is also Jan. 28.
Tolson is a longtime city official, serving as commissioner of the Revenue and Streets departments in different stints. She was the first woman to lead the Streets Department, and is its second longest-serving commissioner following 10 years at the helm.
In a statement about Tolson's new role, the Kenney administration said, "She will also focus on coordination amongst several other government and non-governmental organizations including SEPTA, PENNDOT, Federal Highway, PECO, PGW, Philadelphia Parking Authority, Delaware River Port Authority, and Philadelphia Regional Port Authority – so in addition to her years of qualifying experience, it also makes logistical sense."
The SEPTA Board has been at times a contentious governing body. Philadelphia has the same number of seats — two — as each of the four surrounding counties: Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, and Bucks. The governor also appoints a representative. Four seats are filled by the state legislature.
Advocates for city transit often cite SEPTA ridership and revenue in calling for more representation on the board. In SEPTA's monthly ridership report for December, there were 648,000 average daily passengers on City Transit, compared to 60,000 on Suburban Transit, and 128,000 on Regional Rail.
City Transit accounted for $22.9 million in revenue in December while Suburban Transit brought in $2.3 million and Regional Rail brought in $11.9 million, according to the report.
The makeup of the board is controlled by the state legislature.