WHAT DO YOU get for the corporate hot spot that seems like it has everything?
How 'bout some underground transit?
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey called yesterday for extending SEPTA's Broad Street subway line into the Navy Yard, given the area's dramatic rebirth as a sprawling office park that's home to about 10,000 workers.
Casey sent a letter to Brigid Hynes-Cherin, the Federal Transportation Agency's (FTA) regional administrator, urging her to discuss the potential project with SEPTA, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 and the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades.
John Rizzo, Casey's spokesman, said the senator has heard from a number of local business leaders and workers who want to see the subway line extended south 1 1/2 miles into the Navy Yard. The line currently ends at Pattison Avenue.
Casey, in his letter to Hynes-Cherin, noted that many Navy Yard employees rely on a shuttle bus that PIDC uses to ferry them to other SEPTA stops.
"As the Navy Yard continues to grow, we need to start planning for a long-term solution that will provide commuters with direct access to the Navy Yard as part of SEPTA's subway system," Casey wrote.
Hynes-Cherin could not be reached for comment.
The Navy Yard is home to more than 130 companies and an ever-growing collection of sleek new office buildings. Its first hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott, is expected to open in January, and plans are afoot to add restaurants and residential properties to the area.
A 2007 feasibility study from the PIDC, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and others determined that extending the Broad Street Line into the Navy Yard would cost about $370 million.
According to the study, the new subway line would attract about 8,000 riders and prove to be more cost-effective on a per-rider basis than expanding other transit offerings.
"While SEPTA's priority remains addressing our $5 billion backlog of critical infrastructure projects, we also participate in a responsible long-range planning process that evaluates the future transit needs of the region," Joe Casey, SEPTA's general manager, said in an emailed statement.
"The FTA's competitive New Starts Program funds major capital investments, such as the proposed Broad Street Line extension, and we appreciate Sen. Casey's interest and support his efforts to contact the FTA and highlight the merits of the project," he continued.