Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro announced Monday that his proposed state budget will call for a 1.75% increase in funding for public transit, the first increase in more than 10 years.

The governor’s proposal would add $282.8 million a year to operating funds for transit agencies across the state for five years, a total of $1.41 billion. Pittsburgh Regional Transit, which currently gets $280 million a year in state operating funds, would get an additional $39 million each year.

PRT and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority around Philadelphia have been lobbying for additional state funding because extra federal assistance made available as a result of severe ridership drops during the pandemic is running out. SEPTA leaders say the agency would be heading into a “death spiral” this year without additional help while PRT said it expects to run out of the extra federal money in 2026 or 2027.

In a news release, Shapiro said he has been working for several months with transit officials and political leaders to understand transit needs. A state House bill passed last fall would have provided even more money through the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Trust Fund, but the state Senate hasn’t acted on the bill.

“Hundreds of thousands of people across our commonwealth rely on public transit every day to commute to work, go to school and get to where they need to go — and Pennsylvanians deserve clean, safe, cost-effective ways to travel throughout our cities and towns,” Shapiro said.

“That’s true all across our commonwealth, whether you’re traveling to work in Philadelphia on SEPTA or you’re a student in Pittsburgh using PRT to get to school. 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.”

As part of the proposal, Shapiro said, SEPTA has made a commitment for improving cleanliness on its system and outlying counties are stepping forward to help with the agency’s financial crunch. It wasn’t initially clear how much additional money SEPTA would receive under the governor’s proposal.

“The governor knows how critical public transit is for Southeastern Pennsylvania, and his proposal would deliver the critical funding we need — providing additional support for SEPTA for the first time in over a decade,” Leslie Richards, SEPTA’s CEO and general manager, said in a news release.

“In these discussions, the governor has also made clear his expectations that we at SEPTA step up to address our community’s serious concerns about cleanliness and safety. We are committed to addressing these concerns so that all SEPTA riders can feel safe as they travel where they need to go.”

PRT spokesman Adam Brandolph said in an email the agency would welcome the additional funding because transit is “vitally important to our region.”

“The governor’s proposal would be the first increase to public transit funding in more than a decade,” he said. “It will help ensure Pittsburgh Regional Transit can continue to serve and support Allegheny County.”

The governor will introduce his proposed budget Feb. 6.

This story will be updated.

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Ed Blazina

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at