SEPTA providing multiple options for participation in virtual budget hearings

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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SEPTA is offering several virtual platforms for attending this week’s budget hearings.
David C. Lester

Editor’s Note: Issues at the SEPTA budget hearings this week are likely to be of interest to many RT&S readers. While the coronavirus has precluded in-person attendance at events such as this, the virtual presentation will make the hearings available to more people. This is not the typical article we post on RT&S News, we thought it would be useful for our readers. DCL

Hearings for Fiscal Year 2021 Capital & Operating Budgets Start This Week; Public Can Attend Online, By Phone & Submit Written Comments

SEPTA is inviting the public to participate in virtual hearings on the proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Operating and Capital Budgets through several newly available options. Due to the public health emergency related to the COVID-19 crisis, in-person attendance is not possible.

Multiple sessions will be held for both budgets over the next two weeks. Capital Budget virtual hearing sessions will be held on Wednesday, May 20 at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Hearings on the Operating Budget, which includes the Fare Restructuring Plan, will be held on Tuesday, May 26 at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., and on Wednesday, May 27 at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The virtual public hearings will provide for the ability to provide comments by phone and email in three different languages – ensuring a greater inclusivity and creating more opportunity for input than ever before.

“SEPTA encourages everyone to use one of the options we have made available for participating in the public hearing process,” said SEPTA General Manager Leslie S. Richards. “We are all navigating through this difficult time together, and public feedback will play a critical role as we move forward. We have put an emphasis on making this process as accessible as possible for all customers, whether they are interacting with us online, over the phone or in writing.”

In an effort to provide as much information to customers and the public ahead of the virtual public hearings, SEPTA has posted videos, presentations and other information online for both the Capital and Operating Budget/Fare Restructuring hearing. Please click the following links for these supplemental materials:

Real-Time Participation Via WebEx
For those who want to participate in real-time, including testifying, SEPTA has added an online option through WebEx. Everyone who plans to use WebEx will need to pre-register through SEPTA’s website, and those who want to comment during one of the hearing sessions will be asked to select a preferred time slot when they register. For details on registering, please see the meeting notices posted online:

Call-In Options
There are also call-in options for those who do not have access to a computer or do not want to participate online. Members of the public can listen to each of the hearings by calling (866) 796-7535 and use participant code 26811232. Callers will not be able to make comments during the hearings, however, feedback can be recorded via voicemail:

  • To provide comments or testimony for the Capital Budget, call (215) 580-7771. Callers will be asked to press #1 for English, #2 for Spanish and #3 for Mandarin. Messages must be received by May 27.
  • To provide comments or testimony for the Operating Budget/Fare Restructuring Plan, call (215) 580-7772, and follow the same prompts for English, Spanish or Mandarin. Messages must be received by May 31.

Email and Written Comments
Members of the public can submit written comments via email, or send written testimony through regular mail.

  • Capital Budget: Email written comments to [email protected], or mail to Director, Capital Budgets, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, 1234 Market Street, 9th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Written feedback must be received by May 27.
  • Operating Budget/Fare Restructuring Plan: Email to [email protected]. Mail to Director, Operating Budgets, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, 1234 Market Street, 9th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Written feedback must be received by May 31.

All comments, testimony and other feedback will be reviewed by an Independent Hearing Examiner, who will make recommendations to the SEPTA Board. It is expected that the SEPTA Board will consider the Operating and Capital Budgets at its June meeting. If approved, the budgets would go into effect on July 1, which is the start of Fiscal Year 2021.

A SEPTA press release.

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