Up to $45 billion in funding for public transit emergency relief may be a part of the final stimulus legislation approved in Congress.
The transit industry has taken a decided hit since the Covid 19 onset and subsequent economic shutdown, with a decided drop in ridership, bringing with it an accompanying drop in fare revenues.
According to a survey published by the Washington-based American Public Transportation Association, roughly 20% of all public transit agencies in recent months have transferred funds intended for capital projects to basic operational costs.
The survey also revealed that 35% of the responding agencies said they had either delayed or outright cancelled capital improvement projects because of the pandemic.
Those projects included new station construction and track upgrades.
In a statement, Paul Skoutelas, president of the APTA, has urged Congress to approve new transit funding, contending that such funding will “ensure that public transit agencies can survive and help our communities recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic.”
Skoutelas added: “The public transportation industry’s very survival is at stake.”
Although the earlier proposed Coronavirus Response Additional Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020 did not contain transportation funding, a new bi-partisan relief package provides $45 billion for transportation.
That legislation is slowly moving forward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said from the Senate floor, remarking: “We made major headway hammering out a targeted pandemic relief package that would be able to pass both chambers with bipartisan majorities.”
By Garry Boulard
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