Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SEPTA proposes $1.4 billion operating budget; hires Director of Media Relations

Written by 
  • Print
  • Email
SEPTA proposes $1.4 billion operating budget; hires Director of Media Relations ABB

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) on March 28, 2016 released its proposed Fiscal Year 2017 Operating Budget and Fiscal Years 2018-2021 Financial Projections and announced that it will hold a series of public hearings on the spending plan throughout the five-county service region April 25-29.

SEPTA's proposed Operating Budget for FY2017, the 12-month period from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, is $1.4 billion, an increase of approximately 3% over Fiscal Year 2016. The operating budget provides funding for the everyday costs of running the transit system, such as labor, fuel and power.

The proposed FY2017 Operating Budget maintains current SEPTA service levels, with no increase in fares for riders. The budget reflects SEPTA's ongoing efforts to control costs. Fuel consumption, for example, has been reduced, thanks in large part to the agency’s effort to replace aging buses with more fuel-efficient diesel-electric hybrids. SEPTA says it expects fuel consumption to decrease by 2.2 million gallons annually. In addition, costs for injuries and damages are also expected to go down, due in large part to the increased role of video evidence from surveillance cameras.

To engage the public in the budget process, SEPTA will hold two hearings in each of the five counties in which it operates. Public comments are considered before the budget proposal goes to the SEPTA Board for a vote at its monthly meeting in May.

Below is the public hearing schedule:

Bucks County-Monday, April 25: Bucks County Free Library, Pearl Buck Room; 150 South Pine Street, Doylestown, PA. Hearings at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Philadelphia-Tuesday, April 26: SEPTA Headquarters, Board Room-Mezzanine Level; 1234 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA. Sessions at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Delaware County-Wednesday, April 27: Delaware County Courthouse, County Council Meeting Room-First Floor; 201 West Front Street, Media, PA. Hearings at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Chester County-Thursday, April 28: West Chester Borough Hall, Council Chambers; 401 East Gay Street, West Chester, PA. Sessions at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Montgomery County-Friday, April 29: Montgomery County Human Services Center, Community Room-Main Floor; 1430 Dekalb Pike, Norristown, PA. Sessions at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Additionally, SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon, Sr. and SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel, P.E., announced on March 30, 2016 that Carla Showell-Lee has joined as Director of Media Relations. Showell-Lee is a Philadelphia-area media and public relations professional, most recently serving as the Chief Public Information Officer in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, PA.

"I am excited to have Showell-Lee as our new Director of Media Relations," said Deon. "She will play a key role in publicly highlighting the important role SEPTA has in rebuilding and strengthening the region's transportation network."

Showell-Lee began her career in Upper Merion Township as a Media Consultant in March of 2009. She later became the Chief Public Information Officer in 2012, focusing her attention on rebuilding the township's internal and external messaging. Showell-Lee successfully implemented the "Communication is Key" branding initiative throughout Upper Merion, coordinating and distributing information to the public, media, and employees, to keep all stakeholders engaged and informed. Showell-Lee oversaw Upper Merion's Government Access Channel, UMGA-TV, a division within the Public Information Office. She found creative ways to implement programs that would engage more viewers: revamping the award winning topical affairs community program, "On The Move."

"SEPTA welcomes Showell-Lee to our team," said Knueppel. "We look forward to her assistance in communicating with the media, our riders and the public about the many exciting initiatives SEPTA has underway and will pursue in the future."

Prior to Upper Merion Township, Showell-Lee worked as a host and producer throughout the Tri-State region for Comcast Newsmakers, an issue oriented news program, featured on CNN Headline News. She interviewed political legislators and pillars of the community. She also worked for WRTI-Jazz 90, KYW-Newsradio, Fox News, Banyan Productions, and Carsey-Werner Productions.

"Throughout my career, I've sought to continue to find innovative ways to capture the attention of an audience, find details of a story that people can relate to, and promote initiatives important to the community," Showell-Lee said. "I look forward to working with the team at SEPTA as we engage the media and the public in discussions about issues that continue to promote the Authority in a positive way."

Get the latest rail news

Rail news and analysis from Railway Age, IRJ and RT&S by email