SEPTA’s Holmesburg Junction Station could use some tender loving care.
The station, located on Rhawn Street just west of State Road, sees a little more than 1,000 passengers each weekday. That number would grow if there was an increase in available parking. There are a mere 37 spots in the lot, with commuters parking all along nearby streets. And there are no surveillance cameras in the lot.
In addition, the platforms are not accessible, according to federal Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Also, the building is rather small and gets especially crowded when it rains.
Many of SEPTA’s 150 rail stations were constructed in the late 1800s or early 1900s.
“Most are in a state of disrepair,” said SEPTA general manager Joseph Casey.
Casey also has concern for the 300 bridges owned by SEPTA. Seventy of them are more than 100 years old.
“We need to repair and replace them now,” he said.
Last week, Casey joined state Sen. Mike Stack and state Reps. Mike McGeehan and Tony Payton during a news conference at the Holmesburg station.
SEPTA has a $5 billion backlog of projects that it says need to be completed to bring its infrastructure and facilities into a state of repair.
Last August, Gov. Tom Corbett’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission released its findings. The recommendations included increasing fuel taxes and vehicle registration and driver’s license fees.
Corbett has been hesitant to make the public pay more for transportation funding. His administration indicated last month that he would announce more details on the issue during his annual budget address, which was given on Tuesday.
Transportation advocates are hoping the governor delivers more money for highways, bridges and public transit. They are not holding their breath for any assistance from the federal government, since Congress is loath to raise fees or taxes in an election year. The federal stimulus money earmarked for transportation projects has been used.
According to a Dec. 11, 2011 report by PennDOT, there are 4,890 bridges in the state — including 85 in Philadelphia — that are structurally deficient.
“That’s a fancy way of saying ‘unsafe,’ ” Stack said.
Stack understands the challenges of a tough economy, but he was hoping to hear Corbett mention the word “investment” in his remarks and see the governor follow up by making transportation a budget priority.
“Our transportation system is falling apart,” he said.
Stack wants the governor to act immediately, pointing to safety concerns.
“Invest in infrastructure now, before it’s too late,” he said.
McGeehan, Democratic chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said Philadelphia needs first-class transportation infrastructure to be a first-class city.
“We have the greatest infrastructure in Pennsylvania, so we have the greatest infrastructure needs,” he said.
The news conference also attracted representatives of Holmesburg Civic Association, Laborers Local Union 57 and the James J. Anderson Construction Co.
The union and construction company said transportation projects would bring much-needed jobs to the area. ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org