Public transit in the US is facing an unprecedented crisis. Fare revenue will collapse as people stay home, while the tax revenues that transit relies on will also decline steeply as we go into a recession. Some small transit agencies are shutting down, but most are trying to keep going, as a public service. As I recommended, many are cutting peak commute service but keeping the all-day service that is a city’s lifeblood, and the lifeline of the people who are keeping things running right now.
Fortunate people use airlines, so they’re obsessed with saving them. But if we want transit to still be there when this crisis is past, emergency assistance will be critical. See below for what you can do.
Here’s the statement by the American Public Transit Association today:
March 17, 2020
Urge Your Members of Congress to Fight for Public Transit COVID-19 Funding!
Congress is actively working on a third package of COVID-19 response legislation and an emergency aid package could pass in the coming days.?Public transportation organizations are taking extraordinary efforts to protect the health and safety of riders and employees while working tirelessly to maintain essential services. We want to ensure that the federal government includes aid to public transportation agencies to help offset the additional costs and lost revenue related to COVID-19.?
APTA requests $12.875 billion for public transit to offset direct costs and revenue losses of COVID-19 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. These funds are necessary to maintain essential services, including providing public transportation to health care workers, Medicaid recipients who receive non-emergency medical transportation, and law enforcement personnel. Without these emergency funds, public transit agencies may be required to suspend services.
The APTA request of $12.875 billion will offset the following costs and losses:
- Direct Costs: $1.75 billion. Based on preliminary results of the APTA survey, 98 percent of public transit agencies have increased direct costs because of COVID-19 (e.g., cleaning vehicles and facilities);
- Farebox Revenue Loss: $6.0 billion. We anticipate a 75 percent loss of farebox revenue over the remaining six months of FY 2020 (total annual revenue: $16.1 billion);
- Dedicated Sales Tax Revenue Loss: $4.875 billion. We anticipate a 75 percent loss of dedicated sales tax revenue over next six months (total annual revenue: $13 billion); and
- Restart Costs: $250 million.
CALL TO ACTION
We strongly encourage you to contact your Members of Congress today and share the impacts, such as ridership losses and increased costs due to labor and cleaning products, of COVID-19 on public transportation in your communities.
To contact your Members of Congress, please call 202.224.3121.