SEPTA hits brakes on King of Prussia rail project over rising costs

SEPTA is hitting the brakes on its King of Prussia rail line extension.
SEPTA is hitting the brakes on its King of Prussia rail line extension. Photo credit SEPTA

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — SEPTA’s much-debated King of Prussia rail project is off the table. With inflation and high interest rates pushing costs higher and higher, the transit agency is halting work on the Norristown High-Speed Line extension to King of Prussia.

The cost of the project has been growing by $100 million a year, too fast for available resources to keep up.

"The latest estimate is topping $3 billion,” said SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch.

A federal grant would have covered 60% of the cost, but Busch says the Federal Transit Administration this week expressed concerns that SEPTA would have enough state and local funding in time to pay for its share of the $3 billion project.

We've decided to pause the project. That will mean that all work related to the King of Prussia rail is going to stop," he said.

That means the $125 million design contract the SEPTA board approved just last month is not being executed.

Busch said, as the transit agency draws up its capital budget for next year, the $340 million that would have been devoted to the KOP rail line over the next several years will now go toward other infrastructure projects.

The King of Prussia District released a statement on Friday, acknowledging the decision to stop the project as a loss for the region.

"We are deeply disappointed to learn that this project will not continue to advance, but would like to recognize and thank the KOP Rail team at SEPTA and all partner agencies for the time and effort they put into advancing this important regional transportation investment," reads the statement, in part.

"We want to acknowledge that this is a big loss for our region. Connecting the three largest employment centers of King of Prussia, University City and Center City would have helped us compete for investment, jobs and companies. We do hope that we may be able to use our collective voices to help move our region forward in other ways."

Featured Image Photo Credit: SEPTA