Hoping for more money from the state, the SEPTA board is postponing action on its budgets for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Fare increases are still expected on that date.
The board's budget committee on Thursday proposed deferring until June any action on the $1.3 billion operating budget, which funds regular transit operations, and on the $308 million capital budget, which pays for major construction and vehicle purchases.
Even with the fare increases slated for July, the fiscal 2014 operating budget has a $38 million deficit. And the capital budget leaves SEPTA without enough money for new vehicles or repairs to electrical substations or decaying subway stations.
So, instead of voting on the budgets Thursday as planned, the board will wait until its June 27 meeting, just three days before the current budgets expire.
SEPTA hopes legislative negotiations in Harrisburg on transportation funding will produce more money for SEPTA and other transit systems in the state, said budget committee chairman John Kane.
State subsidies are slated to provide $595 million for SEPTA operations next year, down $21 million from the $616 million state subsidy this year.
Passenger fares are expected to provide $475 million next year, up $25 million from the $450 million in fare revenue this year.
SEPTA's capital budget anticipates $117 million (38 percent of the total) in state funding, and $187 million (61 percent) from federal funds.
The fiscal year that starts July 1 marks the beginning of a new era for SEPTA, with the advent of its long-delayed electronic fare-collection system.
First, fares will go up. Then, by the end of the year, "smart" cards will replace tokens, passes, and transfers on subways, buses, and trolleys.
After that, Regional Rail travel will be transformed by subway-style gates in five Center City stations, electronic card-readers in the suburbs, and new fare zones across the region.