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Public Transit Agencies, Advocates, and Labor Join in Call for $32 Billion in Emergency Federal Aid from Congress

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
United States House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives
H-204, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
United States Senate
S-230, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Minority Leader
United States Senate
S-221, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer:

On behalf of the millions of Americans who rely on public transportation every day, the 435,000 frontline workers who operate and maintain those systems, and the public transportation agencies that serve communities across America, we urge you to include at least $32 billion in funding for public transportation in the next COVID-19 emergency response bill.

As you know, physical distancing measures, including stay-at-home orders, have taken a serious toll on overall demand for public transportation services. This has placed a major strain on the revenue sources public transportation agencies count on for continued operations, including farebox revenue and sales taxes. Nonetheless, throughout this crisis, millions of Americans have continued to depend on reliable and safe public transportation to get to and from work and for other essential services.

Without robust public transit systems in our urban and rural communities alike, the national economy will not be able to recover. As recently reported in The New York Times, some public transit systems are in danger of heading into a “transit death spiral” where evaporating revenues lead to cuts in services, which in turn cause riders to find alternative means of transportation if they can, further incapacitating transit systems to the point where they become insolvent and inoperable. Communities and transit agencies of all sizes are hurting, and critical emergency funding must be made available immediately to avoid a worsening crisis.

Millions of essential workers bravely fighting on the front lines of this pandemic have no other means of transportation. Healthcare, grocery, and other workers will be put at risk of losing their jobs and livelihoods. And families who rely on transit for transportation to pick up food, get to work, and meet their health care needs will be left stranded. Likewise, Americans who depend on paratransit service and Medicaid recipients who receive medical transportation for critical care services will lose their only transportation lifeline. Seniors, communities of color, and other groups who disproportionately rely on transit will be particularly hard-hit, further weakening our country at the worst possible time.

Unfortunately, if Congress does not provide the necessary funding for public transportation in the immediate future, the traveling public will suffer. Allowing vital transportation services to lapse in the middle of a global pandemic will guarantee more harm to our communities and place the economic well-being of the American public in jeopardy.

Our communities across the country are depending on you to act swiftly and decisively to save public transit. This will require an immediate investment of at least $32 billion in our transit systems. We urge you to include this funding in the next aid package.

 

Sincerely,

Amalgamated Transit Union

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU

Transport Workers Union

Transportation Communications Union/IAM

Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO

International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers -Transportation Division

Active Transit Alliance
Chicago, IL

Better Bus Coalition
Cincinnati, OH

Center for Disability Rights
Rochester, NY / Washington, DC

Central Maryland Transportation Alliance

Circulate San Diego

Coalition for Smarter Growth
Washington, DC

Investing in Place
Los Angeles, CA

Pittsburghers for Public Transit

Riders Alliance
New York, NY

San Francisco Transit Riders

The Street Trust
Portland, OR

Transit Forward Philadelphia

Transit Matters
Boston, MA

Transportation for America

Tri-State Transportation Campaign
NY, NJ, CT

Transportation Choices Coalition
Seattle, WA

American Public Transportation Association

Central Ohio Transit Authority
Columbus, OH

Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago, IL

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
Los Angeles, CA

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
Houston, Texas

Metropolitan Transportation Authority
New York, NY

Sound Transit
Seattle, WA

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
Philadelphia, PA

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Washington, D.C.

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