Friday, December 20, 2013

SEPTA restarts construction of Broad Street Trolley after state passes $2.3 billion transportation bill

Above: In August 2012, workers were rapidly laying track for the new Broad Street Trolley Line in South Philadelphia near the stadium complex. SEPTA abruptly suspended the project last year, which will run from Pattison Avenue to Fern Rock Transportation Center when complete--a distance of nearly ten miles--after failing to secure needed funding to continue construction. The financial problem was (surprisingly?) solved after Pennsylvania passed a $2.3 billion (multi-modal) transportation bill at the end of November. "The passing of that bill saved the Broad Street Trolley Line," said Jim Copperfield, managing co-director of rail expansion at SEPTA. "The new line--I don't even want to mention the total cost--will provide a second great option for transit users to negotiate the City's main north-south thoroughfare. It will complement the Broad Street Subway, which already covers the exact same route...but underground. We really needed this bill passed to resume this rail project." Work began on the line in June 2012, between Pattison Avenue and Mifflin Street, where one and a half miles of track were put in place by the end of that summer. The new trolley will effectively replace the former C Bus route, which at one time provided a surface transit option for Broad Street. Not everyone is on board with the plan: "Broad Street has the subway, it DOES NOT need a trolley--period," said PA Senator Allen Bourne. "These funds should be used to provide hourly hovercraft service along the Schuylkill River to ease congestion on the [I-76] Expressway."

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