President Trump signs FY21 omnibus and COVID relief package

Dec. 28, 2020
The president’s signature was the final step required to secure $14 billion in additional emergency funding for the U.S. transit industry.

President Donald Trump signed H.R. 133, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, into law on Sunday, Dec. 27, six days after the House and Senate passed the package which funds the federal government through September 2021 and includes nearly $900 billion in assistance to industries and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis.  

The package provides $14 billion to the U.S. transit industry in emergency funding relief, which is mandated to be allocated within 30 days of the bill’s enactment.

The $14 billion includes $13.27 billion for urbanized area formula funds, $50 million for enhanced mobility formula funds and $678.65 million for rural area formula funds. Amtrak will see $1 billion in emergency funds and private transportation providers such as motorcoach carriers and school bus operators will have access to $2 billion in emergency relief funds.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao sent a tweet Monday morning committing the department to allocating the funding “as quickly as possible to help meet payroll for millions of workers and keep transportation systems moving.”

The CARES Act passed in March 2020, which provided the transit industry with $25 billion in emergency funding relief for transit, carried a requirement to have funds allocated within seven days. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration had those funds allocated in six days.  

The American Public Transportation Association and transit agencies around the U.S. have been urging for at least $32 billion in emergency relief funds. While the $14 billion provided in this round of emergency relief falls short, the incoming administration has left the door open to additional stimulus in the new year.

A day prior to the bill being signed by the president, President-elect Joe Biden issued a statement urging the president to sign the legislation and reiterating that more action will be needed.

“This bill is critical,” said President-elect Biden. “But it is also a first step and down payment on more action that we’ll need to take early in the new year to revive the economy and contain the pandemic.”

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.