The U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) allotted USD 25 billion grant for public transport systems to support companies’ operation as they face huge financial issues due to coronavirus pandemic.
“We know that many of our nation’s public transport systems are facing extraordinary challenges and these funds will go a long way to assisting our transit industry partners in battling COVID-19,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams.
Under the decision, USD 22.7 billion are provided to large and small urban areas and USD 2.2 billion allocated to rural areas. The funding will be provided at a 100% federal share, with no local contribution required, and will be available to support capital, operating, and other expenses generally eligible under those programmes to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.
“This historic USD 25 billion in grant funding will ensure our nation’s public transport systems can continue to provide services to the millions of Americans who depend on them,” said U.S. Transport Secretary Elaine Chao.
Operating expenses incurred beginning on January 20, 2020 for all rural and urban recipients, even those in large urban areas, are also eligible, including operating expenses to maintain transit services as well as paying for administrative leave for transit personnel due to reduced operations during an emergency.
In addition to this financing, FTA has taken a number of steps to support the transit industry during this public health emergency, including expanding the eligibility of federal assistance available under the Emergency Relief Programme to help transit agencies respond to coronavirus in states where the Governor has declared an emergency. All transit providers can use federal formula funds under the Urbanized Area Formula Programme and Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program for emergency-related capital and operating expenses. This includes the provision of personal protective equipment or special-purpose trips.
In March, APTA has requested Congress to provide public transit agencies USD 16 billion funding to fight against financial crisis due to coronavirus pandemic. In addition, ten U.S. transit agencies asked for a USD 25 billion federal funding dedicated support the activities.