Opinion: Philly's Regional Transit Needs More Funding

The region's planning commission is pouring billions into highway widening projects while neglecting its public transit needs.

1 minute read

September 2, 2021, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


EB Adventure Photography / Shutterstock

In an opinion piece, Ben She calls on Philadelphia's regional policymakers to boost transit funding and stop privileging suburban commuters with road widening and construction projects. Historically, She writes, "the Philadelphia region consistently advanced and prioritized highway expansions over transit, and our regional planning budgets prove it clearly." 

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission's long-range plan supports a "set of enormous transportation investments" in highway and road widening while SEPTA, the region's public transit agency, "has struggled to even advance its top four Projects of Regional Significance, which include modernizing Regional Rail and Trolley Modernization." Meanwhile, highway widening projects across the region are receiving upwards of $5 billion. "Not a single transit project has fully guaranteed funding, despite a report that pretends there is funding parity. Make no mistake: the quality-of-life of over 380,000 Market-Frankford El, trolley, and Regional Rail riders is in dire jeopardy in favor of slightly improving a suburban driving commute that may not even exist post-2020."

She encourages readers to "note the stark disconnect between DVRPC’s stated policy goals and what they’re actually funding in the budgets" and "urge local Congresspeople to support the upcoming budget reconciliation process so Philadelphia’s transit projects like Trolley Modernization can get funded with more federal support."

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