Congress agrees to $25 billion for transit

This wouldn’t have been possible without you

Early yesterday morning, congressional leaders and the White House agreed to a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic stabilization plan that includes $25 billion in emergency direct assistance to transit agencies, at a time when agencies’ revenue is plummeting. The plan also includes more than $1 billion for passenger rail.

We went from zero dollars for transit in the initial proposal to $25 billion. This is a huge victory, and it wouldn’t have been possible without your thousands of messages and calls to Congress and our letter to House and Senate leadership. Thank you.

Members of Congress need to know we appreciate their hard work to include transit. You can use our same action form to send them a quick note of thanks or better yet make a phone call and tell them thank you for including public transit in the plan.

Without this infusion of emergency funding, transit would be unlikely to survive through the pandemic. We can’t afford for transit to stop running—especially now, as transit plays a huge role in connecting millions of people to their jobs in healthcare, grocery stores, and other essential businesses. In fact, 36 percent of transit riders are workers in essential industries. And any long-term economic recovery will be nearly impossible without transit service to help people get back to work after this unprecedented crisis subsides.

But there’s still more work to do.

TransitCenter estimates that transit agencies will experience losses this year anywhere between $26-$38 billion. Transit agencies will need more operating funds to guarantee that they can run enough trains and buses to avoid overcrowding and maintain social distancing. We can’t put America’s frontline workers at increased risk.

With the House due to vote on this emergency stabilization plan tomorrow, legislators are already considering another bill to stimulate the economy. Next week, we’ll release our recommendations—developed with our colleagues at Smart Growth America—for an  economic recovery that is green, equitable, accessible, and will actually deliver tangible benefits to local communities. Stay tuned.

We will continue to work hard to ensure that public transportation receives the operating support it needs, and will keep you updated on how you can help guarantee that transit survives COVID-19—and is ready to thrive when this crisis is over.

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