Bipartisan group publishes relief bill text that includes $15 billion for transit

Dec. 15, 2020
The Bipartisan COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020 is one of two bills aimed at providing short-term relief through the first quarter of 2021.

A group of bipartisan officials released text of two relief bills in a push to reach a final deal to provide the U.S. with much needed emergency relief from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic before Congress breaks for the holidays. 

The two bills, $748-billion Bipartisan COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020 and $160-billion Bipartisan State and Local Support and Small Business Protection Act of 2020, support the $908-billion framework the same group of officials unveiled at the beginning of December.

The larger of the two bills, the Bipartisan COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020, includes $45 billion for transportation, including $15 billion for transit, $1 billion for Amtrak and $8 billion for private bus/motorcoach operators.

The American Public Transportation Association has been calling on Congress to deliver at least $32 billion in additional emergency funding relief and called the $15 billion included in the proposal “a starting point for negotiations.”

What the $15 billion for transit includes:

  • $13.27 billion for urbanized area formula funds;
  • $1 billion for rural area formula funds;
  • $100 million for enhanced mobility for seniors and people with disabilities formula funds; and
  • $628.43 million in emergency relief grants.

The bill calls for formula funds to be allocated within 30 days of the enactment of the legislation and a Notice of Funding Opportunity must be published for the emergency relief grants within 60 days of enactment.

Amtrak’s funding would be divided between $580 million in Northeast Corridor Grants and $420 million for National Network Grants.

The $8 billion provided the motorcoach industry in the proposed legislation would be through a mix of grants and loans.

While neither House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nor Senate Leader Mitch McConnell directly addressed the bipartisan proposal, both issued statements on Monday suggesting an openness to further emergency relief.

Speaker Pelosi issued a statement on the number of American’s who have died because of the coronavirus and included, “Congress must come together and reach bipartisan agreement this week on coronavirus legislation to save the lives and livelihoods of the American people. We cannot go home without it.”

Speaker McConnell, in an address on the Senate floor, touched on targeted COVID relief and urged his colleagues to “get this done.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.