A New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority-led (MTA) coalition of 22 transit agencies is calling on the US Congress to provide an additional $US 39.3bn in relief to address Covid-19-related deficits and prevent further service cuts and delays to capital projects.

MTA chairman and CEO, Mr Patrick Foye, assembled the nationwide group, sending a funding-request letter, dated February 3, to Senate majority leader, Mr Charles E Schumer, speaker of the House, Ms Nancy Pelosi, Senate Republican leader, Mr Mitch McConnell, and House Republican leader, Mr Kevin McCarthy.

“Given the unprecedented ridership declines, revenue losses and additional costs caused by the pandemic, a new independent economic analysis shows that $US 39.3bn in additional investment is needed to maintain operations today and to get through the years ahead,” the letter states. “As such, we request $US 39.3bn in emergency aid for public transit agencies nationwide in the next coronavirus relief bill.”

The letter refers to a study conducted on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) by EBP US, formerly the Economic Development Research Group (EDR), which projected financial requirements to the end of 2023.

While transit agencies have received support for operations, in part, from the Cares Act ($US 25bn) passed on March 27 2020, and the recently enacted Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA Act) of 2021 ($US 14bn), funding gaps remain due to continuing suppressed ridership and lower fare, and state and local tax revenues. This translates to projected transit funding needs of $US 25.2bn in 2021, $US 15.1bn in 2022, and $US 13bn in 2023, according to EBP US.

“Federal investment will do more than just keep the trains and buses running; it will help fortify our systems for decades to come,” the letter says. “By devoting resources to transit, we can create jobs and strengthen the infrastructure that moves not only people, but our economy. We look forward to working with you on this vitally important matter.”

In addition to Foye, the other coalition members who signed the letter are the respective leaders of the following transit authorities:

  • Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (Marta)
  • Capital Metro, Austin, Texas
  • Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Transit Administration
  • Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA)
  • Charlotte Area Transit System (Cats)
  • Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
  • Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority
  • Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
  • Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD)
  • Jacksonville Transportation Authority
  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
  • Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works
  • New Orleans Regional Transit Authority
  • NJ Transit
  • San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (Bart)
  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Septa)
  • Via Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio, Texas
  • King County Metro, Seattle
  • Sound Transit, Seattle.
  • Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority, and
  • Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).