With the passage of the American Recovery and Re-investment Act (ARRA), in February 2009, SEPTA received $191 million to complete 32 transit infrastructure improvement projects across the service region, including 5 construction projects in Philadelphia and 26 construction projects in the 4 suburban counties -- Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery. SEPTA also purchased 40 new hybrid buses, adding to our green fleet, which operates in all 5 counties of our service region.
Addressing critical infrastructure needs and creating much needed local construction and manufacturing jobs were two highlights of the SEPTA infrastructure improvement program. To achieve this, a comprehensive bid and procurement process was established for a wide range of contracts using a multitude of construction skills and trades. Overall, the Authority's ARRA program created or sustained over 3,164 contractor jobs. To ensure the participation of disadvantaged, minority, and female contractors, SEPTA hosted a very successful seminar and networking session. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation rate exceeded 13% with two DBE firms being awarded prime contracts.
Following the guidelines and accelerated work schedule established by the ARRA Program, SEPTA awarded all major construction contracts within one year; and all projects were substantially completed by the Spring of 2012.
The SEPTA ARRA Program has been nationally recognized for its efficiency, effectiveness, and innovative program management. Through this effort, the Authority demonstrated its commitment fostering partnerships with customers and stakeholders to build and strengthen the Philadelphia Region.