Baldwin, Colleagues Call for $32B in Transit Funding in Next COVID-19 Stimulus Package
As stay-at-home orders continue across the country, public transit agencies are faced with decline in ridership, steep revenue losses
Without federal assistance, public transportation, economy will come to a screeching halt
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined two dozen of her colleagues, led by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), in urging Senate leadership to provide an additional $32 billion in emergency supplemental funding for public transit agencies in the next COVID-19 stimulus package. Transit agencies have been hit hard ever since stay-at-home orders were first announced in states across the country back in March, resulting in plummeting ridership and fare revenues needed to keep trains and buses running safely and on time.
“Through the depths of the current crisis, public transportation agencies have continued operating to ensure that essential workers and others can do their jobs and get back to their families at the end of each shift,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the Senate’s Majority and Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).“These operations have enabled our economy to stay alive, but they have come with massive increases in costs while revenues have fallen.”
“Now, as the public health crisis has necessitated the continuation of stay-at-home orders for months in states across the country, we must recognize the true costs of the coronavirus on our transit systems,” the letter continued. “Decreased farebox revenue has continued longer than we anticipated two months ago, and the reduction in other revenue sources such as local sales taxes are deeper than anyone predicted. Many transit agencies, particularly those hardest hit by the pandemic, will exhaust their CARES Act funds before the end of the year.”
The lawmakers’ request falls in line with the request made by transit agency officials at some of the largest transit systems in the country. Representatives from those agencies and several labor unions, outlined their need for additional federal assistance back in May to help them recover, implement new health and safety procedures and resume full service.
In addition to Baldwin and Menendez, Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Tina Smith (D-MN) also signed today’s letter.
A copy of the letter can be found here and below.
Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:
As you continue negotiations on further actions to respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we write to strongly urge you to include significant financial support for public transit in any final agreement. Safe and healthy buses, subways, and trains are absolutely vital for health care workers, law enforcement, first responder, and other safety personnel working on the front lines of the pandemic, and will be essential to a full economic recovery in the months and years ahead. For those reasons, we must ensure that our transit systems are fully operational going forward by providing an additional $32 billion in emergency supplemental funding for public transportation through the end of 2021.
In the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), we took decisive action to support our transit systems by providing $25 billion in immediate support. This funding came at a time when we expected the crisis to be relatively short and accompanied by a steep, immediate recovery. Now, as the public health crisis has necessitated the continuation of stay-at-home orders for months in states across the country, we must recognize the true costs of the coronavirus on our transit systems. Decreased farebox revenue has continued longer than we anticipated two months ago, and the reduction in other revenue sources such as local sales taxes are deeper than anyone predicted. Many transit agencies, particularly those hardest hit by the pandemic, will exhaust their CARES Act funds before the end of the year.
Given these facts, we must act swiftly to preserve public transit options for Americans and keep our systems safe and healthy. This is an unprecedented time in our history and it requires strong, demonstrated leadership from this body, as well. We support an additional $32 billion in emergency aid to transit systems through the end of 2021 not only to keep these systems operational, but also to signal to our constituents that we will be ready for the economic recovery we are all working towards.
An online version of this release is available here.
- Data Wonk: Biden Vaccine Plan Helps GOP Governors - Bruce Thompson - Sep 15th, 2021
- Gov. Evers, DHS Remind Wisconsinites to Get Vaccinated to Get $100 - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Sep 15th, 2021
- American Family Field COVID-19 Testing Site Closing - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 14th, 2021
- For Ron Johnson, Prolonging the Pandemic is Just Another Day at the Office - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Sep 14th, 2021
- Nursing Home Workers Resist Vaccines - Madeline Fuerstenberg - Sep 13th, 2021
- MKE County: Children Are Rising Share of COVID-19 Cases - Graham Kilmer - Sep 10th, 2021
- City of Milwaukee Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Sep 10th, 2021
- School Board Approves Vaccine Mandate for MPS Staff - Madeline Fox - Sep 10th, 2021
- City Hall: Milwaukee Planning Its Own COVID-19 Vaccine Incentive - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 10th, 2021
- Federal and State Officials Advise Wisconsinites That Making or Buying Fake COVID-19 Vaccine Cards is Illegal - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Sep 10th, 2021
Read more about Coronavirus Pandemic here
Mentioned in This Press Release
Recent Press Releases by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Baldwin Joins Colleagues in Letter Urging the Department of Education to Continue to Bolster Federal and State Oversight of Student Loan ServicersSep 14th, 2021 by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Growing markets offer export opportunities