Funding for public transport system is requested by ten U.S. transit agencies that are facing losses due to coronavirus. They have sent a joint letter asking for financial support.
The representative of ten U.S. transit agencies sent to the Senate and House leadership a joint letter to urgently request that the federal relief package includes at least USD 25 billion of dedicated support for public transport agencies. The goal of the federal package is to stabilize the economy and establish a backstop that will propel the country forward.
Federal aid, utilizing federal formulas, must be directed to areas of the country that have had significant financial impacts and where essential workers rely most heavily on public transit.
The agencies face financial problems due to coronavirus pandemic. Overall ridership on transport systems has plummeted every day, dropping as much as 90 percent in some cases. “Combined with falling tax revenues and dramatically increased cleaning costs, this collapse of revenue has resulted in immediate and enormous funding gaps. The collective losses, which early projections show are expected to be in the tens of billions of dollars, can never be recouped and have a compounding impact on our ability to borrow,” the agencies highlight.
Although the Congressional proposals are stop-gap measures, the agencies are requesting for comprehensive and permanent solutions that put public transport first. “Any federal relief package will not maximize value for the country’s economy without a robust, targeted investment in public transport. This is a matter of national interest and core part of any national recovery,” the letter says.
The signatories serve regions that combined make up 32percent of the national gross domestic product.
In March, MTA, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, one of the letter signatories, has requested USD 4 billion in federal funding to cover its financial problems caused by the pandemic situation.
APTA has also requested Congress to allot USD 16 billion funding to transit agencies that record losses because COVID-19 pandemic.