By Thomas Fitzgerald, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Construction could begin in 2024 if SEPTA wins the competition for federal funding against other transit agencies.
SEPTA is soliciting proposals from engineering firms to do the final design work beginning this fall for its $2 billion plan to extend light-rail service to King of Prussia.
That’s another step among many in the competitive federal Capital Investment Grant program for big transit projects — but a pivotal one.
Final design is the last big bureaucratic hurdle before the transit authority finds out whether it will win one of those construction grants, said Anna Hooven, SEPTA’s project director for KOP Rail.
“It does feel like there’s a lot of momentum around this right now,” Hooven said in an interview.
The project would extend the Norristown High Speed Line four miles to King of Prussia, with five stations, ending with a stop near the Valley Forge Casino Resort, which has a convention center. It would link the second largest employment center in the region to its largest, Philadelphia, via the 69th Street Transportation Center.
Construction costs are projected at about $1.6 billion, though officials are considering a revision of the estimate for inflation. The rest of the estimated cost is for planning and engineering design. KOP rail has been discussed and debated for years.
SEPTA pledged $390 million toward the project in its recently enacted 12-year capital spending plan.