Here’s a closer look at the provisions and what they could mean for agencies, advocates and riders alike.
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has drafted a Budget Reconciliation Title providing $30 billion of COVID-19 emergency funding for public transit and $1.5 billion for Amtrak, including $820 million for Northeast Corridor operations.
Public transit agencies are facing a projected shortfall of $39.3 billion through the end of 2023 due to the pandemic, according to findings from an independent economic analysis conducted by EBP US Inc. for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan on Jan. 14 that includes a $20 billion investment to “protect the future of transit.”
RAILWAY AGE, JANUARY 2021 ISSUE: First, getting through the pandemic—then, building a new normal. Amid uncertainty, there is cautious optimism for passenger rail in 2021. That was the general consensus of industry experts Railway Age interviewed in December.
Congress passed the $2.3 trillion “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021” (H.R. 133), an omnibus spending bill that includes a $900 billion COVID-19 emergency relief package as well as government appropriations for fiscal year 2021, tax extenders and other provisions. While many in the rail industry expressed appreciation—stressing that additional transit aid, for instance, will be needed—outgoing President Donald Trump did not. He refused to approve the bill—calling for higher direct relief checks to Americans and other changes—but he finally signed it into law late Dec. 27, averting a government shutdown Dec. 29.
As the COVID-19 virus continues its relentless march across the nation and around the world, U.S. transit is quickly becoming one of its casualties. The picture will probably get worse as the $24.9 billion that transit got from the CARES Act runs out next year.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has teamed with Transit app to track demand for public transit and publish week-by-week estimates of ridership change for agencies across the U.S.
“Examining the Surface Transportation Board’s Role in Ensuring a Robust Passenger Rail System” was the topic of a virtual Nov. 18 hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.
With Joe Biden preparing to take the oath of office as the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021, the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), Amtrak, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) are “ready to work” with him, his Administration and Congress—and help the industry, and the country, recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.