The funding was approved by the US congress in December as part of a near $US 900bn Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA), and follows $US 25bn provided for transit in April 2020 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (Cares) Act. 

“This additional $US 14bn in transit infrastructure grants will help ensure our nation’s public transportation systems can continue to serve the millions of Americans who depend on them,” said former transportation secretary, Ms Elaine Chao, who has since resigned from the Trump administration following the January 6 riots in Washington DC.  

$US 13.27bn has been allocated to large and small urban areas, while $US 678.2m has been allocated to rural areas and tribes, and $US 50m has been allocated to enhance the mobility of seniors and passengers with reduced mobility. Similar to the Cares Act, the funding will not have to be matched by local funding. 

“We know that many of our nation’s public transportation systems continue to face challenges due to Covid-19, and these supplemental funds will help ensure that safe transit services remain available for riders traveling to jobs, health care and other essential services in communities across America,” says FTA deputy administrator, Ms K Jane Williams. 

The CRRSAA funding should be prioritised for payroll and operational needs.