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Concern over the financial straits of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has prompted U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) to ask Congress to begin work on a new long-term transportation funding bill.In a letter to transportation leaders in the House and Senate, Casey said Congress needs to begin planning the next transportation bill now to carry on after the current legislation, known as MAP-21, expires in one year.As Congress approaches yet another budget deadline of Sept. 30 and with additional sequester cuts looming in the coming year, Casey earlier this week joined SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey and other southeastern Pennsylvania leaders to discuss the need for Congress to take a comprehensive approach to federal transportation planning, which would help provide funding certainty to SEPTA and other transit agencies.A series of short-term bills have left agencies like SEPTA uncertain about what their future funding might be, Casey said in a press release."Public transit is a major part of southeastern Pennsylvania's economy and it's essential that SEPTA has the resources it needs to continue to provide safe and reliable transportation," he said. "Congress should begin work now on a long-term transportation bill that allows public agencies to plan into the future. A comprehensive and long-term approach to transportation can create jobs and improve economic growth."Earlier this month, SEPTA GM Casey told Pennsylvania state officials that the agency will need to significantly cut service over the next decade if it doesn't receive additional state funding to support a backlog of critical state-of-good repair projects.
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