Understanding SEPTA’s Statewide Economic Value


April 29, 2013

In 2007, the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia (Economy League) and Econsult were commissioned by the William Penn Foundation to evaluate the consequences of underfunding SEPTA on southeastern Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth. Funding solutions were identified and acted upon, but circumstances have changed and once again in 2013, despite achieving its highest ridership levels in 23 years, SEPTA is confronted with a serious funding shortfall, especially for capital funding required to maintain and improve its infrastructure and system.

Economy League and Econsult Solutions have again teamed to reexamine SEPTA's role in the Commonwealth's economy and analyze the value of expanded Commonwealth investment in SEPTA. The report, this time commissioned by SEPTA, has three main goals:

  • To understand the economic value of SEPTA, in terms of economic and fiscal impacts on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;
  • To determine how SEPTA compares to other transit agencies in terms of performance, scope, and revenue sources; and
  • To provide updated, nonpartisan information to state lawmakers and stakeholders as the decision on how to fund SEPTA is considered.

For the purpose of this report, the Economy League and ESI conducted five sets of analyses to answer the following questions:

  1. To what extent do the five counties of southeastern Pennsylvania - Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia - contribute to the Commonwealth's transportation-related revenues, and are the beneficiaries of transportation-related expenditures?
  2. To what extent has SEPTA been a good steward of public funds?
  3. How does the performance of SEPTA operations compare to Commonwealth agencies and industry peers?
  4. What are SEPTA's economic and fiscal impacts on southeastern Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth?
  5. What are the possible long-term consequences of inadequate, status quo funding levels on southeastern Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth?

Read the report, executive summary, presentation, and press release below.