Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and CEO Chairman Patrick Foye has assembled a coalition of 22 transit agencies from across the country who sent a letter urgently calling on Congress to deliver $39.3 billion in federal relief for mass transit in the next coronavirus relief bill.
The coalition called on congressional leaders to provide needed federal aid to address devastating COVID-related deficits and prevent deep service cuts, thousands of employee layoffs and decimating capital improvement projects as well as the hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs that would be created along with an infusion of capital spending.
Transit agencies across the nation have kept cities and communities moving forward through the depths of the pandemic and will serve as the economic engine crucial to recovery moving millions of Americans to work, school and jobs. The national recovery depends upon a healthy mass transit system, which employs more than 400,000 workers across the country, as well as robust investments in infrastructure to modernize and strengthen systems for the future and create hundreds of thousands of good-paying capital construction jobs in the years ahead.
The letter reads:
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to batter the nation, we greatly appreciate your leadership and hard work in passing the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA Act) in December. This emergency funding, along with that provided in the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), has kept our agencies afloat, protecting critical service for essential workers while ensuring our agencies are positioned to support the nation’s economic recovery amid the vaccine rollout.
“However, given the unprecedented ridership declines, revenue losses and additional costs caused by the pandemic, a new independent economic analysis shows that $39.3 billion in additional investment is needed to maintain operations today and to get through the years ahead. As such, we request $39.3 billion in emergency aid for public transit agencies nationwide in the next coronavirus relief bill. Without additional federal resources, our agencies could be forced to implement drastic cuts to service, make unthinkable layoffs and/or delay or cancel critical capital projects.
“Such draconian actions would decimate transit service and impact all those who rely on it. Our industry directly employs more than 400,000 workers and supports millions of private-sector jobs across the country. Pre-pandemic, our agencies moved millions of Americans every day, and now our services are an indispensable lifeline for health professionals, first responders, food service and other essential workers on the front lines of this public health crisis. Without us, they’ll be left stranded.
“A strong public transportation network is the shot in the arm this country needs to fully rebound now that the vaccine is here. Federal investment will do more than just keep the trains and buses running; it will help fortify our systems for decades to come. By devoting resources to transit, we can create jobs and strengthen the infrastructure that moves not only people, but our economy.”