Fitzpatrick, SEPTA Announce Funding for Bucks County Rail

Sep 4, 2013 Issues: Congressional Issues, Transportation
Fitzpatrick, SEPTA Announce Funding for Bucks County Rail

LANGHORNE, PA – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) joined SEPTA officials Wednesday in announcing a $10 million federal grant to expand critical rail lines in Bucks County.

“Rail transport has been vital to this region for over 100 years - from carrying commuters to work, to carrying the goods and services that drive our economy. That importance continues today,” said Fitzpatrick at the press event at SEPTA’s Woodbourne Station. “This investment solidifies the role of rail service and ensures that it can best work for businesses and citizens.”

Awarded by the Department of Transportation, the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER V) grant will go towards the separation of freight and passenger routes on SEPTA’s West Trenton Regional Rail Line. Currently, the six-mile stretch of CSX-owned line between Middletown, PA and West Trenton, NJ is a choke-point for transportation in the region, featuring both SEPTA and freight trains daily.

“The federal funds awarded to this project will allow SEPTA to construct its own stretch of track in the area, separating the two lines and allowing both SEPTA and CSX to improve their service,” continued Fitzpatrick. “The project benefits travelers, businesses, and the region by increasing connectivity and allowing for station upgrades.”

“This project is not only critical to SEPTA and CSX, but to the region as a whole,” said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale “Pat” T. Deon Sr. “This will significantly enhance a portion of the rail corridor that is vital to our economy – ensuring that commuters have reliable transportation to get to-and-from work, and that businesses can send and receive goods efficiently and effectively.”

The TIGER V grant will assist in construction of the new railway, as well as help both SEPTA and CSX upgrade their lines to meet new federal Positive Train Control (PTC) regulations. SEPTA estimates the grant will offset the cost of this upgrade which would have removed funds from regularly scheduled upkeep projects.

“SEPTA would like to thank the southeastern Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation for their support in the effort to obtain federal funding for this initiative,” said General Manager Joe Casey. “We’re proud to be recognized as good stewards of the taxpayer money we receive, and we believe that the SEPTA-CSX Separation project will generate benefits in keeping with the mission of the TIGER program. We look forward to working in partnership with CSX through construction for the project, and to delivering the service improvements it will bring to our customers upon completion.”

“Working to enhance the transportation infrastructure of the region remains a top priority of mine and I will continue to work to support these efforts,” added Fitzpatrick. “This project means jobs for the region, increased travel opportunities and streamlined commerce -- a win-win-win for my district.”

The West Trenton Regional Rail Line is SEPTA’s third-highest ridership route and ranks fourth in service volume with 57 weekday passenger trains. According to SEPTA, daily ridership has grown by nearly 2,000 riders over the past decade with future growth anticipated.                                                       

###

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.