Government Transportation

Gov. Shapiro Proposes Increased Funding For SEPTA To Avert Service Cuts & Fare Hikes

Gov. Josh Shapiro proposes increased state funding for public transit to address SEPTA’s potential $240 million shortfall.

Credit: Tom Sofield/

SEPTA could face a significant funding shortfall of $240 million when its new fiscal year begins in July, which could potentially lead to drastic service cuts and fare increases. However, a weekend proposal by Gov. Josh Shapiro could provide a much-needed financial lifeline.

SEPTA, which operates rail, bus, and paratransit services in lower and central Bucks County, may face potential 20 percent service cut and a fare increase of up to 30 percent, said SEPTA CEO Leslie Richards last Thursday, as reported by WHYY.

The looming financial crisis has prompted Democratic lawmakers to seek assistance from President Joe Biden’s administration.

In response, Shapiro, a Democrat, announced a proposal on Sunday for a 1.75 percent increase in statewide public transit funding.

The $282.8 million investment will be part of his 2024-2025 budget proposal that will be presented to the legislature in the coming weeks.

Over five years, the funding would amount to nearly $1.5 billion.

According to Shapiro’s office, it would be the first hike in the state’s share of public transit funding in over a decade

The governor’s office said the new money would directly benefit SEPTA by averting immediate service disruptions and fare increases.

Shapiro’s proposal aims to establish a “stable funding structure for SEPTA for the future,” according to a statement.

“Ever since I was a state representative and county commissioner in Montgomery County, I have supported SEPTA and the critical services it offers to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians every day,” Shapiro said. “SEPTA has presented plans to address safety and cleanliness throughout their system, and county officials have entertained a willingness to step up to the plate and increase their support – as a result, my administration is prepared to make a major investment in SEPTA.”

Bucks County in 2024 is budgeted to contribute 5.3 million to SEPTA, a 7.9 percent increase over 2023 funding.

SEPTA’s CEO Leslie Richards expressed gratitude towards Shapiro’s proposal.

“The governor knows how critical public transit is for Southeastern Pennsylvania, and his proposal would deliver the critical funding we need – providing additional support for SEPTA for the first time in over a decade,” Richards said.

Additionally, Richards said Shapiro emphasized the importance of addressing concerns regarding cleanliness and safety in SEPTA’s operations.

“We are committed to addressing these concerns so that all SEPTA riders can feel safe as they travel where they need to go,” she said.

Editor’s Note: Publisher Tom Sofield contributed to this article.

About the author