In Lancaster, Governor Shapiro and Secretary Carroll Highlight the Need to Pass Governor’s Proposed $282.8 Million Budget Investment in Public Transit to Connect PA Communities and Support Seniors

May 15, 2024

Governor Shapiro’s proposed budget invests nearly $1.5 billion in new state funding over the next five years in transit systems that Pennsylvanians rely on – especially in suburban and rural communities.

Nearly one million Pennsylvanians ride on public transit every day to commute to work, go to school, and travel where they need to go – and the Governor’s proposal would help seniors who depend on shared ride services for 2.6 million trips a year. 

Lancaster, PA – Today, Governor Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Mike Carroll, South Central Transit Authority Executive Director Greg Downing, and Representative Mike Sturla visited the Red Rose Transit Authority to highlight the significant investments in public transit for communities across Pennsylvania in the Governor’s 2024-25 budget proposal, especially for seniors who rely on shared ride services.

Governor Shapiro knows safe, clean, on-time public transit is essential to Pennsylvanians’ daily lives and our economic growth. The Governor’s budget calls for increased funding by 1.75 percent – a $282.8 million investment, and nearly $1.5 billion in new state funding over five years, in transit systems that Pennsylvanians rely on.

“Millions of Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth rely on public transit every single day – and in communities like the ones here in Lancaster County, thousands of residents turn to Red Rose Transit to help them get where they need to go,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “For older Pennsylvanians in particular, public transit and shared rides allow folks to travel to their doctor’s appointments, pick up medications, and access services they’d otherwise miss out on – like those available at adult day centers. Under my plan, 32 transit systems across Pennsylvania will receive $1.5 billion over the next five years – including $5.6 million for the South Central Transit Authority – and an additional $37 million will support shared ride services. Public transit provides real freedom and opportunity for its riders, especially our seniors, and that’s why we need to fund it.”

Nearly one million Pennsylvanians ride on public transit every day to commute to work, go to school, and travel where they need to go – including the seniors in our rural communities who depend on shared ride services for 2.6 million trips a year. The Governor’s proposal would fund 32 public transit systems across the Commonwealth, including those in suburban and rural communities.

“Governor Shapiro has proposed the most significant investment in public transit funding in nearly a decade to help Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth have stable connections to get to work, visit their families, and travel to medical appointments,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “Clean, safe, and reliable public transit is especially critical to ensure our suburban and rural communities are connected to every corner of the Commonwealth. PennDOT’s shared-ride programs support 2.6 million seniors and persons with disabilities a year – and this budget funding could help stabilize our shared-ride services by helping to attract and retain drivers and connect Pennsylvanians to the services they need to live their best lives.”

As part of the Governor’s proposal, the South Central Transit Authority (SCTA) – which operates Red Rose Transit Authority in Lancaster and the Berks Area Regional Transportation Authority – would receive $5.6 million to serve tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians annually across Berks and Lancaster counties. SCTA plans to use this budget funding for service enhancements, including building a maintenance facility for their shared ride service operations.

“We know that through rain, snow, and sunny days – public transit is there to serve our community and for the vital services that we provide. The Governor’s visit today emphasizes the need for more investment in public transit to benefit communities across the state – not only in the two bookmark locations in our state, but here in Lancaster County,” said Greg Downing, Executive Director of the South Central Transit Authority. “The funding proposal could add even more services for our disadvantaged populations, improving service for a fixed route and for a shared-ride paratransit service. We’re thankful for the support of Governor Shapiro to invest in public transit across Pennsylvania.”

Investing in and improving our public transit systems is a commonsense way to create good-paying jobs, spur economic development, and help Pennsylvanians reach their destinations safely.

“I commend Governor Shapiro for recognizing the importance of public transit to communities in all 67 counties, including urban, rural, and suburban,” said Representative Mike Sturla. “I strongly support his proposed increase in state funding for public transit because it will help grow our economy while ensuring safe travel.”

Approximately $37 million of the Governor’s proposed $282.8 million investment could help stabilize shared-ride (scheduled, curb-to-curb) service and help attract and retain drivers. Shared-ride service is available in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties and provided 4.5 million trips in the state 2022-23 fiscal year. Of those trips, 2.6 million were taken by seniors and persons with disabilities through funding from PennDOT’s shared-ride programs. Of the 2.6 million PennDOT-funded trips, approximately 44 percent were medical trips and 11 percent were work trips.

On average, 64 percent of the people who use fixed-route services say that they have no alternate means of transportation. Public transportation services are available in every county in Pennsylvania, including:

  • Shared ride service in all 67 counties;
  • Fixed route bus service in 49 counties; and
  • Fixed route rail service in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvanians are encouraged to learn about public transit options and apply for transportation assistance programs through the Commonwealth’s Find My Ride (FMR) tool. FMR includes FMR Apply, an online tool which was developed collaboratively with transit agencies and streamlines the application process for transportation assistance programs in the state, including the Senior Shared Ride program, the Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP), ADA complementary paratransit, the Persons with Disabilities program; the Free Transit Program; and fixed route half/reduced fare for persons with disabilities.

In counties where they’re available, eligible residents can apply for Area Agency on Aging funded trips for people 60-64 and discounted shared ride service for veterans. Additionally, FMR Apply allows third parties – such as a family member or healthcare provider – to apply for services on behalf of a rider.

More information on public transit and alternative transportation options like ridesharing, biking, and walking, is available on PennDOT’s website.

For a breakdown of how Governor Shapiro’s budget proposal will fund 32 public transit systems all across the Commonwealth, click here. For more information on the Governor’s 2024-25 budget proposal, visit shapirobudget.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Governor’s Press Office: ra-gvgovpress@pa.gov

PennDOT: Alexis Campbell, alecampbel@pa.gov

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