A group of 19 smaller and mid-sized transit agencies added their voices behind the push for Congress to include an additional $36 billion in emergency funding relief in a new stimulus bill.
The group, led by the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District, sent a letter to House and Senate leaders asking for the additional funding as transit agencies of all sizes struggle to stay in good financial standing as they continue to provide vital service through the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the group of small to mid-size agencies supports the need for additional funds, it wants to see those funds distributed using existing formulas through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is how the $25 billion was distributed to transit through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“As Congress prepares another round of necessary supplemental appropriations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are urging you to include $36 billion in supplemental funding to transit agencies operating in communities of all sizes using the exact same distribution method as the CARES Act. Using existing FTA funding formulas will assure that transit systems across the country continue to move quickly to get us all through the worst of this pandemic equitably and sustainably,” read the letter signed by Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District CEO/General Manager Alex Clifford.
"Using existing FTA funding formulas will assure that transit systems across the country continue to move quickly to get us all through the worst of this pandemic equitably and sustainably,” -- Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District CEO/General Manager Alex Clifford.
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which passed the House, includes $15.75 billion for the transit industry with the majority of funding relief ($11.75 billion) going to larger agencies serving urbanized areas of three million people or more and the remaining $4 billion going to grants for the industry.
In a July 14 letter, APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas asked for additional emergency funds for the industry and suggested that 80 percent of any emergency funds be distributed through the existing FTA Emergency Relief Program with the remaining 20 percent distributed through FTA formula grants.
The letter from the group of small and mid-sized agencies was co-signed by leaders from Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority, Riverside Transit Agency, Monterey-Salinas Transit, San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Lane Transit District, Island Transit, Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority, Kitsap Transit, city of Battle Creek Transit, the city of Santa Maria, River Bend Transit, VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority, Gold Coast Transit District, Victor Valley Transit Authority, Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, SunLine Transit Agency and Fort Wayne Citilink.