Transit Issues: Secure Funding

Photo by Noah Cote

Our Region’s Transit Systems Need More Support

Act 44, which transfers $450 million a year from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to public transit agencies, is set to expire in 2022.

SEPTA is an absolutely critical driver of the southeast region, and the state economy—not to mention the state budget.  Southeast Pennsylvania generates 41 percent of the state’s total economic activity and is home to 32 percent of its population on just 5 percent of its land. The Philadelphia region has grown by more than 100,000 new residents since 2010. This level of density and economic productivity is only possible with a high‐capacity, efficient network to keep people and goods moving throughout our region. If the Southeast region is going to keep growing, more and better transit is a must.

In April 2019, the Southeast Partnership for Mobility issued a report calling on state leaders to address this funding crisis, with measures to raise revenue through ride-hailing service fees, congestion pricing charge, and fees for tire purchase, vehicle lease and vehicle rental.This is a useful menu of options, and we hope candidates for state office will add creative ideas to the list, especially policies that do double-duty encouraging transportation mode shifts to transit and active transportation. We are very concerned about the pending move from dedicated transit funding through Act 44 to more discretionary funding in the budget, especially since SEPTA alone needs much more funding from the state than it currently receives to move on projects like trolley modernization and more frequent regional rail. 

Further Reading:


Implement Congestion Pricing

Congestion pricing is a fee charged to vehicles traveling into or within the busiest area of a city, typically the central business district, during certain hours of certain days. The purpose is to spread car traffic to less busy times or encourage the use of transit and active transportation. Even a 10% reduction in car traffic could achieve major gains in mobility, especially if paired with dedicated lanes for buses and trolleys.

New York state approved a budget that included permission for New York City to implement congestion pricing in 2021.

5th Square supports congestion pricing for Philadelphia as a way to fight traffic congestion, grow our bus ridership, and improve our air quality, while simultaneously providing a new source of funding for public transportation.

Help us win a more accessible, sustainable, and equitable Philadelphia: Become a Member to help 5th Square win some of these changes at the state and local level.