Early yesterday morning, congressional leaders and the White House agreed to a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic stabilization plan that includes $25 billion in emergency direct assistance to transit agencies, at a time when agencies’ revenues are plummeting. The plan also includes more than $1 billion for passenger rail.
We went from zero dollars for transit in the initial proposal to $25 billion. This is a huge victory, and it wouldn’t have been possible without your messages and calls to Congress and our letter to House and Senate leadership. Thank you.
Without this infusion of emergency funding, transit would be unlikely to survive through the pandemic. And 36 percent of transit riders are workers in essential industries—this funding will help them stay connected to their jobs.
But there’s still more work to do
TransitCenter estimates that transit agencies will experience losses this year anywhere between $26-$38 billion, depending on the length and severity of the crisis. Transit agencies will need more operating funds to guarantee that they can make it through this pandemic and then get back to normal operations quickly once it subsides.
With the House due to vote on this emergency stabilization plan tomorrow, legislators are already considering another bill to stimulate the economy. Next week, we’ll release more comprehensive recommendations for an economic recovery that is green, equitable, accessible, and will actually deliver tangible benefits to local communities. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, stay up to date about our work to protect transit by following our Transportation for America program on Twitter at @T4America. And if you don’t already, follow us at @SmartGrowthUSA.