Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA-02) today joined U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Mayor Michael Nutter at the 80-year-old Wayne Junction Substation in North Philadelphia to launch $12.8 million in critical infrastructure work that will improve service and safety for half of SEPTA's regional rail grid.
The grant comes from the Department of Transportation's TIGER 4 (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program. The four rounds of TIGER grants have generated $55 million in job-creating infrastructure projects for the Philadelphia region.
"Philadelphia is the only city in the country that has received grants in all four rounds of the TIGER program. But this is the one I'm most proud of," Fattah declared during ceremonies against the backdrop of rusting but still functioning power facilities in the SEPTA Wayne Avenue yards. "Since 1930, nothing has been done here. Some of the patents go back to 1919."
Fattah, whose Second District includes the neighborhood surrounding the substation, noted. "A year ago, I toured Wayne Junction Substation and promised SEPTA's riders we would get help. Today Secretary LaHood is in North Philadelphia delivering on that promise."
Fattah called LaHood the greatest Transportation Secretary ever. He added, "We can do better, and because of Secretary LaHood we will do better."
LaHood returned the favor: "A big thanks to your Mayor and your Congressman, both very good friends," he said. "They make a difference to get things done. This delegation that speaks for Philly really does a great job."
Nutter talked about the jobs-generating aspect of the Substation project and said, "President Barack Obama gets credit for fighting for these programs." Also participating were City Councilwoman Cindy Bass and SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey.
The Wayne Junction Substation, which serves half of SEPTA'S commuter rail grid, is adjacent to Wayne Junction Station and provides power for six commuter rail lines, impacting 17.5 million passengers. The grant, for $12,862,699, comes from U.S. DOT's National Infrastructure Investments or TIGER 2012 Discretionary Grants Program: Capital Grants.
Said Fattah: "This project will bring jobs to North Philadelphia, improved service to SEPTA riders, and it will advance a neighborhood resurgence that includes last year's dedication of dramatic improvements to the North Philadelphia/Wayne Junction Station itself."