Philadelphia (Cross County Metro Corridor)
Cross County Metro Corridor
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) initiated a two-year Major Investment Study/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (MIS/DEIS) for the Cross County Metro Corridor. The core study corridor extends approximately 48 miles from Glenloch, Chester County, to Morrisville, Bucks County, along CONRAIL's existing "Trenton Cutoff" freight rail line. Possible extensions to Trenton, New Jersey and Parkesburg, Chester County, comprise the secondary study corridor.
Section 3035(yy) of ISTEA directed FTA to enter into a multiyear grant agreement with SEPTA in the amount of $2.4 million for the completion of alternatives analysis and preliminary engineering for this proposed Cross County Metro. Through FY 1997, Congress has appropriated $1.2 million for preliminary engineering and design.
In 1994, SEPTA completed a $250,000 federally-funded feasibility study which examined potential ridership, alternative modes, preliminary station locations and capital and operating costs for a potential Cross County Metro service. The 48-mile light rail alternative proved to be the most cost-effective, with more than 9100 new transit trips, 18 stations and an estimated cost of $250 million (escalated dollars). Use of transit based fares increased forecasted light rail ridership to more than 11,700 trips. An enhanced land use scenario resulted in an additional 19 percent increase in ridership to approximately 14,000 trips for the light rail alternative.
In 1994, SEPTA received all of the appropriated funds to undertake a Major Investment Study and preparation of a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the 48-mile corridor. A key issue in the MIS/DEIS, scheduled for completion in June 1998, will be intermodalism, since access to proposed stations, development of park and ride lots and operation of shuttle bus service to nearby industrial, office and retail concentrations will be essential to attract ridership in the study corridor. Related issues are increasing traffic congestion in the study corridor; municipal land use and zoning policies, and community attitudes concerning the introduction of new transit service in an auto-oriented suburban environment.
The MIS/DEIS will also examine funding options for the capital and operating expenses associated with the proposed alternatives.
The MIS/DEIS is intended to result in a locally preferred alternative and sufficient information for FTA to evaluate the proposed project as a candidate for New Start funding.