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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced a total of $30.5 billion in American Relief Plan Act funding is now available to support the nation’s public transportation systems as they continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and support President Joe Biden’s call to vaccinate the U.S. population.
“Transportation workers are serving on the front lines of this pandemic: delivering the vaccine, getting people to essential jobs, and providing goods and services to people who need them,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a press release. “The critical American Rescue Plan funding we are announcing today will help prevent service cuts, protect employees from layoffs, keep riders and workers safe, and strengthen our economy.”
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 includes $30.5 billion for public transportation, including $26.6 billion to be allocated by statutory formulas to urban and rural areas, tribal governments and for the enhanced mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities, and $2.2 billion to FTA grant recipients in communities that demonstrate additional pandemic-associated needs.
Funds will be made available at 100% federal share and primarily directed to operations and payroll.
An additional $1.7 billion is provided for projects in the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program and another $25 million for competitive planning grants.
FTA will host a webinar about the American Rescue Plan Act funding on April 2 to provide additional guidance to transit stakeholders.
"The new law does far more than fund transit’s COVID-19 needs," according to a letter from Paul Skoutelas, president and chief executive officer of the American Public Transportation Association, to its members.
"It offers a wide range of longer-term assistance to workers, employers, schools, restaurants, retail businesses, event organizers, and towns, cities, and states — all of which are essential to reviving the economy," he said. "People need a destination and a purpose to use transit — and our nation’s recovery depends on providing all citizens with access to places where they can earn and spend money."