June 17, 2010
By Anthony Campisi
Sports fan will soon be taking the subway to AT&T Station in order to see the Flyers, Eagles and Phillies.
SEPTA is poised to sign a five-year agreement that would give AT&T the naming rights to the Pattison Ave. station on the Broad Street Line.
As part of the deal, SEPTA will change every reference to Pattison Station throughout the system and online.
The agreement was announced at a SEPTA Board committee hearing Thursday and will net SEPTA and Titan Outdoor LLC, which has a contract to manage advertising for the authority, more than $5 million. Of that, about two-thirds, or more than $3 million, will go to SEPTA. It’s part of ongoing efforts by SEPTA to raise revenue through non-traditional means.
Rich DiLullo, SEPTA’s director of marketing and advertising, told the operations committee SEPTA had also approached the Philadelphia profesional sports franchises to talk about a deal involving one of them but hadn’t had any luck.
Spokesman Richard Maloney said after the committee meeting that SEPTA was exploring selling naming rights at other stations. He said he wasn’t concerned riders would be confused by the Pattison station name change because the station is at the end of the line and is “unique” because it serves the sports complex.
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Maloney also said that people have become more familiar with naming rights sales over the past several years and added that he’s not worried future station name changes would cause rider problems. The agreement will be voted on by the full SEPTA Board next week.
In other news, the budget, planning and information technology committee reviewed a proposal to transfer $26 million from SEPTA’s service stabilization fund to cover this year’s budget shortfall.
Richard Burnfield, SEPTA’s CFO and treasurer, also said that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation was cutting its June subsidy payment to the authority by $19 million, forcing the authority to draw the reserve fund down further.
Burnfield said the fund would close the fiscal year with less than $100 million. SEPTA had originally hoped to add to the reserve this year, which it uses as a rainy day fund to get through tough financial times.
The SEPTA operations committee also reviewed an agreement between SEPTA and PennDOT that will cover part of SEPTA’s costs related to PennDOT work on Interstate 95 near Girard Avenue. PennDOT will cover half the $3.4 million cost for SEPTA to construct a new trolley turnback near SugarHouse casino for the Route 15. It will cover 90 percent of the $1.7 million cost to run buses along part of the trolley route, which will be closed because of construction.
Rina Cutler, Philadelphia’s deputy mayor for transportation and utilities, noted that Fishtown residents affected by the construction fear that SEPTA plans on abandoning part of the Route 15. She said that she has assured them that trolleys will be reinstated after PennDOT construction has ended. Construction of the turnback is scheduled to start in September and end in December.