Milwaukee Transit Systems To Receive $59 Million From New Bailout Bill
MCTS will receive most of the funding.
An analysis of the new COVID-19 relief bill shows that the Milwaukee area mass transit systems are poised to receive $59.5 million in federal aid.
The funds would come from a $13.2 billion allocation within the $900 billion bill.
Transit ridership has been decimated by the pandemic, creating financial gaps in transit systems that are particularly dependent on farebox revenue.
The funds will be divided between Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, with the vast majority going towards the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS). The funds support fixed-route, paratransit and shared-ride taxi systems operated in each of the counties.
MCTS has a $159.9 million budget in 2020. It was projected to recover 22.8% of its fixed-route costs from rider fares.
The original CARES Act allocation sent $62.4 million in transit aid to the Milwaukee region, alleviating the need for any cuts in the short run. But regions with larger systems that rely on a greater amount of farebox revenue, including Milwaukee to a lesser extent, struggled with the first funding formula.
The new formula attempts to allocate the funds more equitably by instituting a cap based on 2018 operating costs. Milwaukee will receive an extra $23 million before hitting the 75% cap.
The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) oversees the funding allocations within the region.
The Madison area is slated to receive $14.9 million according to TransitCenter.
There could be one snag in getting the funds. President Donald Trump is considering vetoing the bill.
If the bill is signed into law, the Federal Transit Administration will make the final determinations on regional allocations.
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