Pennsylvania is at a crossroads in funding its transportation needs and faces the serious challenges of rising gas prices,
energy driven economic cycles, non-conformance to EPA air quality regulations and sprawl. Despite millions allocated to local
and regional planning agencies, transportation funding for bridges, power stations and other essential transit components remains
diverted to creating un-needed infrastructure. It's time to get back on track.
PA-TEC is a narrowly focused organization dedicated to reforming transportation funding and driving investment towards rail
transportation in Pennsylvania.
To address the monumental challenges that lie before us, transit funding must be reprioritized to projects that deliver measurable results.
PA-TEC is the most aggressive advocate for reform and passenger rail service expansion in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Recently, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that for the price of $900million, SEPTA, DVRPC and Montgomery County "planners" want to build a train to the King of Prussia Mall. Sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? While SEPTA hasn't expanded an inch of their rail system since the opening of the airport line in 1986 because of lack of funding, the "planners" are pursuing this line as a spur off the Norristown High Speed Line.
Community meetings were held in early 2013 to give local residents an opportunity to provide feedback on the list of alignments. The current list of alternatives is available on the SEPTA King of Prussia Rail website.
PA-TEC opposes the King of Prussia rail project primarily because none of the proposed alignments directly serve the mall. The proposed station would be off mall property requiring passengers to walk through busy parking lots in all types of weather (the current bus routes provide door-to-door service). At present, SEPTA is proposing to shut down a segment of the Norristown High Speed line because they lack funding to maintain a critical bridge that brings trains into Norristown proper. We believe that SEPTA should get their priorities in order and preserve service to Norristown before building spurs for would be mall goers that are presently served by bus.
The King of Prussia rail project has many deficiencies that make it a bad project. It fails to serve the mall, it won't create new riders as the mall is already directly served by SEPTA bus routes 99, 123, 124 and 125, PA-TEC proposes a simple alternative that won't cost taxpayers half a billion(+) dollars.
SEPTA discontinue routes 123, 124 and 125 and redeploy the existing bus equipment and manpower to operate mall shuttles from Norristown Transportation Center and the Norristown High Speed Line's Gulph Mills station. Bus service is to be timed to meet every train, both arrivals and departures, and provide a service guarantee that doesn't leave riders soaked in the rain. This alleviates the need to build an un-needed rail line, converts existing bus riders into rail riders and reduces SEPTA's vehicle miles travelled by eliminating duplicative routing. This will further reduce SEPTA's operating costs and reduce pollution.
Transportation "planners" are then redeployed to the Fox Chase-Newtown rail restoration project so that rail service can be restored to an underserved market where existing residents are shut out from public transportation due to lack of service and lack of capacity on the existing Warminster and West Trenton lines.