Transit agencies call for additional $33B in next COVID-19 relief package

May 13, 2020

Several public transit agencies and transportation unions are calling on federal lawmakers to support public transportation with $33 billion in dedicated aid to the industry in the next coronavirus (COVID-19) relief package.

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) this week joined the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), NJ TRANSIT, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), and the nation’s largest transportation unions, the Transport Workers Union (TWU), Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), and the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO to call on Congress to deliver urgent and robust federal aid in the next relief package. 

The demand follows a May 8 letter to Congressional leaders demanding federal funding from 15 public transit agencies that move more than 20 million Americans every day and serve regions generating 35% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. 

The MTA has requested $3.9 billion in additional Federal aid amid precipitous declines to fare revenue and local, state and regional taxes that support the MTA. A report by McKinsey & Company projected a gross loss to the MTA of approximately $3.9-4.9 billion in revenue from fares in 2020, representing an approximately 60-75% reduction from the $6.5 billion farebox revenue estimated in the February 2020 Plan. The report also forecast sizable losses of $1.6 - $1.8 billion in state and local taxes dedicated to the MTA in 2020.

A fuller picture has emerged of the depth of revenue losses at MARTA, showing a five-year deficit of $380 million. To date, the agency's unanticipated costs for masks, gloves, cleaning supplies, and emergency sick leave totals $1.32 million. Costs are expected to increase as the economy reopens, shelter-in-place orders are lifted, and more customers return to transit.

Transit agencies across the country are asking that this request of $33 billion in aid be distributed based on the loss of non-federal revenues.



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