FTA announces $14 billion for nation’s public transit systems during COVID-19 emergency

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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BNSF will be working on the Metra BNSF line this weekend.
David C. Lester

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced a total of $14 billion in Federal funding allocations to continue to support the Nation’s public transportation systems during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency. Funding is provided through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA) (H.R. 133), signed by President Donald J. Trump on December 27, 2020. FTA previously announced $25 billion in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding in April 2020.

“This additional $14 billion in transit infrastructure grants will help ensure our nation’s public transportation systems can continue to serve the millions of Americans who depend on them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

FTA is allocating $14 billion to recipients of urbanized area and rural area formula funds, with $13.27 billion allocated to large and small urban areas, $678.2 million allocated to rural areas and tribes, and $50 million allocated for the enhanced mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities. Similar to the CARES Act, the supplemental funding will be provided at 100-percent federal share, with no local match required.

“We know that many of our Nation’s public transportation systems continue to face challenges due to COVID-19, and these supplemental funds will help ensure that safe transit services remain available for riders traveling to jobs, health care and other essential services in communities across America,” said FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams.

CRRSAA directs recipients to prioritize payroll and operational needs. Funding will also support expenses traditionally eligible under the relevant program. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about this funding will be available on FTA’s web site. FTA will host a webinar series to provide further information.

The U.S. Department of Transportation continues to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other Federal partners to provide guidance to the public transportation industry in response to COVID-19. FTA has held regular conference calls and listening sessions with transit stakeholders and posted updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding COVID-19 on its web site.

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