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SEPTA Receives 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania's "Community Transportation Excellence Award"

Heather Redfern
Public Information Manager

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) was honored by 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania with the 2016 "Excellence in Community Transportation Award", which was presented at 10,000 Friends' Commonwealth Awards ceremony in Philadelphia on January 24.

Among the many initiatives SEPTA was recognized for are the reconstruction and modernization projects to improve infrastructure, safety and reliability; a sustainability program that promotes environmental responsibility; service expansion proposals to bring public transportation to more areas of the southeastern Pennsylvania region; and community partnerships.

"In many ways, SEPTA provides our region with elements of everything we are trying to accomplish: traffic relief, economic development, community revitalization, walkable centers, social equity, access to jobs, air quality and better, smarter land use," said Bert Cossaboon, 10,000 Friends' Vice Chair. "Transit enhances every mode of travel by getting people safely from where they are to where they need to be."

SEPTA was also honored for its advocacy work for the passage of Act 89, Pennsylvania's transportation bill that provides billions of dollars in funding for transportation and transit projects across the Commonwealth over five years. Act 89 was passed in November 2013.

"SEPTA is a mature multi-modal transit system with infrastructure and facilities dating from the 19th century. The capital resources needed to make major investments to improve the system have not always been available," said Jeffrey Knueppel, SEPTA General Manager. "Thanks to the efforts of the southeastern Pennsylvania legislative delegation to pass Act 89, and the voices of support from the legions of stakeholders and transit advocates, including 10,000 Friends, we now have the dedicated capital funding needed to aggressively chip away at our $5 billion dollar backlog in state of good repair projects and focus our efforts on rebuilding the SEPTA system to support the 1.1 million passenger trips we deliver each day." Knueppel added, "With the doubling of our capital investment budget, since the passage of Act 89, we continue to make major infrastructure improvements with our 'Rebuilding the System' program."

The firmly established 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is the Commonwealth's leading statewide and regional advocate for creating great community and the recognized authority on responsible land use. In addition to SEPTA's award, 10,000 Friends also honored the Philadelphia Water Department with the Public Infrastructure Excellence Award and Drexel University with the Joanne Denworth Founder's Award. Drexel, located in the University City section of West Philadelphia, is currently collaborating with SEPTA and Brandywine Realty Trust on the ambitious Schuylkill Yards project that will serve as a gateway to the University's campus from 30th Street Station.

"The region and our customers need a SEPTA that doesn't just remain as it is today - they need a transit system with a strategic vision for the future that can keep up with the growth through 2027, 2037 and beyond," said Knueppel. "To achieve that goal, SEPTA is collaborating with partners and stakeholders on a number of long-range, smart growth planning efforts. With continued support from the region to help find the resources for these projects, we can build a strong future for the communities that we serve."

SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel spoke about some of SEPTA's many improvements projects made possible due to the passage of Act 89. (Photo by Adam Dall)

10,000 Friends Vice Chair Bert Cossaboon (left) and 10,000 Friends' President Jack Machek presented the award to GM Knueppel. (Photo by Adam Dall)