SEPTA halts work on project connecting King of Prussia, Center City and University City

Costs have been rising due to inflation and high interest rates, SEPTA said.

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Saturday, March 18, 2023
SEPTA halts work on King of Prussia rail project
SEPTA is putting the brakes on the King of Prussia rail project for now.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- SEPTA is reversing course on the King of Prussia rail project.

The plan was first introduced 10 years ago but now all work is being halted.

The transit agency says it all comes down to funding.

"Over the last 10 years we've been meeting with residents, planning, and designing the project and the big step was going to be getting the federal funding which would have paid for up to 60% of the project," explained SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch.

This expansion would have required a major contribution from the federal government in the form of a new grant.

After a review from the Federal Transit Administration this week, SEPTA says they were concerned funding from state and local governments wouldn't be enough to make up the rest of the costs.

"SEPTA made the very difficult decision today to pause that project. What this does is all activity related to King Of Prussia rail, which has been planning and design, will cease," Busch said.

The project would have been an expansion of the already existing Norristown High Speed Line, which runs from the 69th Street Transportation Center to Norristown, then it would branch off to King of Prussia with five new stations.

"It was the real appeal of this project: connecting the region's three big employment centers - KOP, University City, Center City - with one rail line and relieving congestion and lowering pollution," said Busch.

When the project was first introduced, the estimated cost came in around $1.5 billion.

"That's been exacerbated lately by inflation and rising interest rates, so this project has an estimated price tag of over $3 billion," said Busch.

SEPTA says the money that had been set aside for this will now go to infrastructure needs like upgrading a number of their stations, rails, and bus fleets.