The US transit systems will benefit a USD 30 billion funding through the House Committee on Transport and Infrastructure’s Budget Reconciliation Title to help assist with operating costs, including payroll and personal protective equipment. In addition, Amtrak will receive USD 1.5 billion to recall and pay employees furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic through the end of fiscal year 2021 and to restore daily long-distance service.
This was announced by Peter DeFazio the Chairman of the House Committee on Transport and Infrastructure on February 9, when the new details of President Biden’s USD 1.9 trillion framework – the American Rescue Plan, were released.
The grants will be delivered through the Federal Transit Administration. “In addition to amounts otherwise made available, there are appropriated for fiscal year 2021, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, USD 30 billion to remain available until September 30, 2024,” the document says.
According to a recent independent, economic analysis conducted by EBP US Inc. for APTA, the public transit agencies face a projected shortfall of USD 39.3 billion. While initial rounds of emergency funding provided transit agencies across the nation with relief, public transit funding needs continue to grow due to ongoing losses of ridership, fare revenue, and state and local tax revenue.
The funding, “included in the Budget Reconciliation Title is essential to providing the public transport industry with long-term certainty critical to the nation’s economic recovery. The time is now to invest more in our nation’s public transportation infrastructure to support jobs, reconnect Americans, and build the necessary infrastructure network to provide critical public transit services and economic opportunities for all,” APTA says.
The entire funding package, which includes nearly USD 100 billion within the Committee’s jurisdiction, will deliver badly needed aid to the American people, including transport workers whose jobs are at risk due to the ongoing economic downturn and the severe decline in ridership across all transport modes.
“For the past year, as the U.S. has struggled to contain the spread of COVID-19, millions of transport workers have been indispensable to not only keeping our transport systems operable but also to ensuring supplies, from everyday items to life-saving vaccines, reach their destination. Our transport systems and the men and women who keep them running will be equally essential to our long-term economic recovery when we finally turn the corner on COVID-19,” DeFazio said.
Besides the funding to rail and transit systems, USD 8 billion will be provided for the airports, USD 3 billion for aerospace manufacturing, USD 3 billion for the Economic Development Administration, while USD 50 billion will be delivered to FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund.