Yesterday, Congress approved a new $900 billion bipartisan COVID relief bill which includes a total of $14 billion for transit agencies to help them avoid additional service cuts and layoffs in the near term. It also includes $10 billion for state departments of transportation. The new transit relief funds will be distributed by formula to metropolitan areas, with the goal that between the original CARES Act and this new bill, each transit agency would receive up to 75% of its pre-pandemic operating budget.
“Public transit is vital to San Francisco’s response and recovery from the pandemic,” said Aaron Peskin, District 3 Supervisor and Chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. “We are grateful that the federal relief bill will extend a lifeline to SFMTA and other transit operators as they work to meet the needs of transit dependent residents and essential workers. However, much more aid is needed.”
President-elect Biden has indicated he sees this bill as a downpayment on a larger federal relief and recovery package, so the Transportation Authority will work with our regional partners and federal delegation to secure the necessary funds to stabilize transit and support economic recovery. In the meantime, we will continue working with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and our transit partners to support the commission’s role in distributing the federal relief funds locally. The commission is also convening the Blue Ribbon Transit Task Force, which is developing a Transit Transformation Plan and related response and recovery efforts.