MTA

TransLink—which runs SkyTrain automated rapid transit, West Coast Express commuter rail, bus and SeaBus ferry services—has teamed with SCRAP-IT to offer a Compass Card rebate to riders exchange for their older automobiles.

Transit Briefs: TransLink, MTA Metro-North, SEPTA

Metro-Vancouver’s TransLink is offering fare card rebates to riders who scrap their older fossil fuel-powered cars and trucks. In addition, MTA Metro-North Railroad on Oct. 4 celebrated the completion of its ADA-compliant Port Jervis Station in New York; and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Board has approved measures to add more social outreach workers.

Receiving CARSI grants are: Metrolink operator Southern California Regional Rail Authority ($14,771,250); Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority ($1,000,000); New York State Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Transportation Authority and MTA Metro-North Railroad ($19,728,000); Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority ($3,335,000); and Washington state’s Sound Transit ($1,421,500).

USDOT Awards $40.26MM for Commuter Rail Grade Crossing Improvements

Five commuter rail agencies will receive a total of $40.26 million in grants for highway/rail grade crossing improvements from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The awards are part of round one of the Commuter Authority Rail Safety Improvement (CARSI) Grants Program.

The emergency relief—the “second largest in history only to the CARES Act” ($1.8 billion)—“is an important first step that Democrats look forward to building on under the new Biden-Harris Administration to meet the remaining needs of the American people during this historic health and economic crisis,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in an announcement late Dec. 20.

Congress: $900B COVID Relief Agreement; $15B For Rail

Congress reached an agreement Dec. 20 on a nearly $900 billion pandemic relief package, and approved a one-day stop-gap bill to avoid a government shutdown and allow time for a vote, expected Dec. 21. It’s anticipated that the package will be combined with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill that will fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. The bill includes $14 billion for transit and $1 billion for Amtrak.

For New York MTA, a ‘Fiscal Tsunami’

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority outlined a “worst-case” 2021 spending plan at its Nov. 18 Board meeting. Proposed are service reductions of 40% across subways and buses, and of 50% across Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North Railroad (MNR), with layoffs of nearly 9,400. Also on continued pause: MTA’s $51.5 billion capital plan. The moves could go forward in absence of $12 billion in federal aid, MTA said.