The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is urging the federal government to provide $23.8 billion in additional emergency funding to help public transit agencies across the country in economic recovery efforts needed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
APTA said the funding would enable agencies to continue to provide a critical lifeline to essential workers and help communities rebuild the economy.
The public transportation industry has significantly increased costs and experienced dramatic revenue losses because of the pandemic, APTA said. An independent, economic analysis by EBP US Inc. determined a $23.8 billion funding shortfall through the end of 2021, in addition to the $25 billion allocated for public transportation in the CARES Act.
“The $25 billion that was provided by the CARES Act was a lifesaver for public transit services, but we now have a more complete picture of the extraordinary and devastating impact,” APTA President & CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said in a statement. “These additional funds are critical to continue serving essential workers and make sure that we can help get our country back to work and to other activities that are so important for our economic recovery.”
APTA says the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased public transit operating costs and slashed state and local sources of transit funding, including agency farebox, parking, and other revenue; dedicated sales tax, gas tax, and other state and local tax revenues; and state and local funding. For instance, with stay-at-home orders and fare-free services for essential riders, transit fare revenue has dropped 86% over the past month.
The EBP US Inc. economic report also showed that decreased investment in public transit does not only impact systems, but would also cost the country 37,000 construction jobs in 2020 and 34,000 construction jobs in 2021.