The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is calling on Congress to save public transportation with an emergency infusion of $32 billion in cash.
In a letter to Congress, the association said the cash is needed to shore up lost revenues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the crisis has stretched from days to weeks to months, public transportation systems large and small, from coast-to-coast, face an increasingly dire situation. We continue to serve essential employees every day, but without additional emergency funding, many transit agencies will soon need to cut transit services and routes and furloughing transit workers, leaving our communities without service and jobs when they need us most,” APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said.
According to the association, a survey of its members found that decreases in revenue caused by depressed ridership, paused fare collection, and reduced tax revenues, coupled with increased operating costs, are wreaking havoc on public transit agency budgets. The changes in budgets have forced almost a third of the public transit agencies to furlough or plan future furloughs of employees.
Additionally, the association said, more than one-third of the agencies have had to delay capital projects, and nearly one in five agencies has shifted funds from their capital budgets to their operating budgets.
“As our nation’s transit agencies work to maintain essential services while restoring full services, federal support is critical to ensure that public transit agencies can survive and help our communities and nation recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic. Again, I urge Congressional leaders and the Administration to move swiftly and include at least $32 billion in emergency funding for our nation’s indispensable public transit industry,” Skoutelas said.