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SEPTA seeks TIGER II grant for Smart Card system, completes trolley projects


The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) recently submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation seeking a $29.3 million TIGER II grant for a program designed to modernize the authority’s fare collection system.

Under the proposal, SEPTA would use the federal grant along with $48 million in agency funding to begin establishing a Smart Card system. The new system would help the agency transition away from payment methods such as tokens, passes and tickets, and toward a retail purchase method using bank, credit and debit cards, prepaid SEPTA cards and other “smart” technologies, SEPTA officials said in a prepared statement.

The system would be expanded to include regional rail and the Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines as other funding becomes available. The initiative, which is expected to cost $100 million to install system-wide, was one of 22 projects SEPTA had cut from this year’s capital budget due to a lack of state funding.

Meanwhile, SEPTA route 101 and 102 trolleys will resume normal service Aug. 30 after several projects conclude. The agency used $34 million in stimulus funding to complete six infrastructure projects designed to improve service reliability, safety and rider comfort on the trolley lines.

Projects included installing more than 14 miles of new power cables and 10 miles of fiber optic cables; installing more than nine miles of continuously-welded rail; replacing 11,000 ties; upgrading 29 grade crossing signal systems; replacing 10 crossing devices; completing eight miles of brush cutting; and cleaning and repainting 338 overhead wire structures.

In addition, SEPTA has completed a year-long, $1.6 million federally-funded project aimed at revitalizing the Darby Transportation Center.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/26/2010