The KOP Rail project will extend the existing Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL) 4 mi. into King of Prussia. (Rendering courtesy of iseptaphilly.com)
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) announced Feb. 23 that it had awarded a consultant contract to HNTB Corp., an engineering firm with offices nationwide, for the final design phase of the King of Prussia Rail (KOP Rail) Project.
Headquartered in Kansas City, with offices in Philadelphia and King of Prussia, HNTB's involvement marks another major milestone for the KOP Rail project, which will extend the existing Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL) 4 mi. into King of Prussia. When complete, the railway line will provide a "one-seat" ride from any station along the NHSL, including the 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby, and the Norristown Transportation Center.
"KOP Rail will connect the three largest employment hubs in the region — Center City, University City and King of Prussia — [and increase] access to 60,000 jobs," said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr., in a news release. "Frequent and reliable transit service is necessary for our region's economy to recover and grow."
The total contract amount for HNTB's basic design and construction documentation (Phase A), and construction related services (Phase B), is $124.9 million.
SEPTA's agreement with HNTB will progress the engineering and architectural design from 30 percent to final design, a requirement for the project to be eligible for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) New Starts Capital Investment Grant funding.
The Philadelphia regional transportation authority's Fiscal Year 2023 Capital Budget commits $390 million to advance the KOP Rail effort, and SEPTA plans to seek a Capital Investment Grant to support up to 60 percent of the total project cost.
"The future of KOP Rail is contingent on the significant state and local resources that are needed to leverage potential federal investments," noted SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. "Adequate state and local funding are critical to advance SEPTA's capital projects, and investing in transit is an investment in our region and the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."
Construction on the KOP Rail project is expected to begin in 2025 if full funding is secured, according to SEPTA.
KOP Rail is a key part of SEPTA's Strategic Plan which focuses on increased connectivity, access, and equity. Together with other SEPTA Forward initiatives, such as trolley modernization and bus revolution, it promotes and strengthens regional growth and connects people with opportunity.
SEPTA is the major transit provider for Philadelphia and the four surrounding counties of Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks and Chester. It operates bus, rapid transit, commuter rail, light rail and electric trolley bus services for nearly four million people.
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