Infrastructure Week - May 15 through May 19, 2023 - is a week of education and events promoting the nation’s roads, rails, pipes, ports and more.
Infrastructure Week is hosted by United for Infrastructure (a program of Accelerator for America Action) and is led by its steering committee: US Chamber of Commerce, North America’s Building Trade Unions, AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department, Brookings: Metropolitan Policy Program, American Society of Civil Engineers, The Value of Water Campaign, National League of Cities, Business Roundtable, and National Association of Manufacturers.
Hundreds of groups have participated in Infrastructure Week over the past decade - promoting their local priorities and spotlighting projects of significance in their communities.
On Thursday, May18, 2023 - SEPTA will officially break ground on a the new Wissahickon Transportation Center - one of the Authority's busiest transportation facilities. This project will reconfigure and expand Wissahickon Transportation Center to alleviate congestion and allow buses, pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles to more safely navigate the area.
Project Highlights and Objectives
New customer amenities including weather-protected waiting areas, benches, bicycle racks and separate ADA-compliant boarding and alighting areas for each bus route
Safety improvements including improved lighting, signage, security cameras and a supervisor’s booth
A dedicated bus turn lane into the Wissahickon Transportation Center – the roadway will be widened to accommodate a new left turn lane dedicated to buses to improve traffic flow. No lanes will be taken away – two lanes will remain traveling north toward Ridge Avenue/Main Street, and two lanes will remain traveling in the other direction toward City Avenue/Kelly Drive
Improved crosswalks for pedestrians crossing Ridge Avenue
Improved route and service dependability
More route options and flexibility
Construction will be phased so that there are minimal disruptions to bus service as well as vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Operations will remain at the current Wissahickon Transportation Center site while the new facility is being built. After the new facility is completed - operations will shift to the new Wissahickon Transportation Center. Residents and riders should observe any posted construction signage and warnings for safety purposes.
The White House kicked off Infrastructure Week 2023 on Friday, May 12, 2023 where they issued a release of a White House fact sheet highlighting 18 months of infrastructure progress since President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) - also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
Here's a quick look back at how SEPTA has benefited from IIJA/BIL:
In January 2022 - SEPTA played host to U.S. Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon who held a press conference to celebrate the passage of the IIJA/BIL. The cause for Rep. Scanlon’s visit is something to celebrate - the recent passage of the federal IIJA means that SEPTA will receive an additional $100 million in capital funding annually for the next four years. This increase in capital funding empowers us at SEPTA to make significant progress on our over $4 billion backlog in maintenance and vehicle replacement needs. We are already putting these funds to work for our customers and the communities we serve.
In February - SEPTA joined Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, PennDOT, and other local officials at Noble Station on the West Trenton Line to discuss the replacement of Noble Bridge (Old York Road over the railroad tracks) and infrastructure projects made possible with the passage of IIJA. Station accessibility is a very important part of SEPTA’s capital program and it will be one of our leading priorities in deploying our IIJA funding.
In March - Congressman Dwight Evans and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon announced a $9.8 million federal grant for SEPTA thanks to IIJA to design and construct two dedicated end-of-route bus layover facilities at two locations in South Philadelphia. Together these locations will serve a total of nine bus routes – five east-west and four north-south bus routes. The new facilities will include disability-accessible bus stops with benches, shelters, signage, lighting, safety enhancements, and bathroom facilities for SEPTA bus operators.
Also in March - SEPTA’s Board approved an amended Capital Budget for the current fiscal year to add the funding that has been made available IIJA. The Board’s approval came after public hearings were held on the proposed amendment. The funding increases the Fiscal Year 2022 Capital Budget from $618.85 million to $713.85 million. SEPTA’s Fiscal Year covers the 12-month period from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.
In August - the FTA announced $1.66 billion in grants to transit agencies, territories, and states across the country to invest in 150 bus fleets and facilities. The bus grant awards – made under FTA's Buses and Bus Facilities and Low- and No-Emission Vehicle programs – are FTA's first competitive grant selections under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The programs support the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to expand our nation's transportation infrastructure, create and maintain good-paying jobs, and fight climate change. SEPTA will receive $23,360,000 in funding to improve bus depots, including redundant power feeders, backup generators, and electrical substations. This project will support our transition to a fleet of entirely zero-emission vehicles.
In September - SEPTA General Manager/CEO Leslie Richards was joined by Senator Casey, Congressman Evans, and Associate Administrator Kincaid at SEPTA's Allegheny Bus District to celebrate this largest single infrastructure grant SEPTA has ever received. This Low No grant will allow SEPTA to modernize electrical infrastructure at three of our bus districts – Allegheny, Comly, and Callowhill – by bringing redundant power feeds to each facility and installing backup generators and electrical substations. Together - these electrical utility upgrades will ensure that SEPTA can power its future zero-emission fleet in the event of an ordinary or catastrophic power failure.
We’re proud to be part of Infrastructure Week 2023 to shine a light on the infrastructure we too often take for granted - but every community needs to thrive.