U.S. public transport coalition calls for urgent federal aid package

Posted: 15 July 2020 |

Public transport agencies across the U.S. have sent a joint letter to Congress requesting up to $36 billion in federal aid as part of the next coronavirus relief package.

U.S. public transport coalition calls for urgent federal aid package

Public transport agencies across the U.S. have called on Congress to urgently deliver up to $36 billion in federal aid to public transportation systems nationwide as the U.S. Senate returns to Washington to debate the next coronavirus relief package. 

A joint letter from a coalition of 27 transportation agencies was sent to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

Public transport agencies which signed the joint letter include:

  • New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
  • Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works (Miami-Dade Transit)
  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro)
  • Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA)
  • Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
  • Sound Transit
  • New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA)
  • New Jersey Transit (NJT)
  • Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA)
  • Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD)
  • San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
  • Capital Metro.

“We all need Congress to act now and to act decisively so our systems can survive and support the nation’s economic recovery,” said Patrick J. Foye, MTA Chairman and CEO.  “That’s why we are asking – insisting – that the Senate set aside $32-36 billion for transit in the next COVID-19 emergency relief bill to offset the economic harm done by this crisis to our industry.”

“COVID-19 has created a fiscal crisis that threatens public transport in the Bay Area. We are doing all we can to build back rider confidence, but need additional funding to ensure the best service possible for those whom public transit is the only option,” commented Robert M. Powers, General Manager, BART.

“While our expenses are going up, our revenue is falling. We appreciate the CARES Act funding, but we need more in order to keep our county and the city of Los Angeles moving,” added Phillip A. Washington, CEO, L.A. Metro. “We have our work cut out for us and we need help from Congress.”

“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, SEPTA has provided critical service to ensure that medical and other essential workers can get to their jobs and that residents can obtain live-sustaining services. However, the challenges facing SEPTA will require additional federal support beyond the full amount of CARES funding,” said Leslie S. Richards, General Manager, SEPTA.

“Commuters need Sound Transit more than ever to reach their jobs at hospitals, airports, manufacturing and other essential services,” said Peter Rogoff, CEO, Sound Transit. “The only way Sound Transit will be able to move people and help the economy is if the next federal response to COVID-19 is focused on replenishing the revenues that are disappearing all around us.”

The full letter and further comments from public transport agencies can be found here.