- Free Consultations / No Fees Until We Win
- (213) 927-3700
Personal Injury Firm
After passing through the Senate and the House, President Joe Biden has signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which reportedly includes $30.5 billion for the transit industry, as well as $1.7 billion for Amtrak. The act (H.R. 1319) passed in the House with a vote of 220 – 211.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reportedly said the legislation provides transit agencies critical emergency funding that will allow their services to continue to serve communities throughout the nation. “We greatly appreciate that the bill includes $30.5 billion of emergency transit funding and distributes these funds in a manner that ensures that all public transit agencies can continue to be a lifeline for our essential workers, while also ensuring Americans can get to vaccine distribution sites and communities can rebuild from the economic devastation caused by the pandemic,” said APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas.
“The time is now to invest more in our nation’s public transportation infrastructure to support jobs, reconnect Americans and build the necessary infrastructure network to provide critical public transit services and economic opportunities for all.”
The funding provided in the legislation would aid the state’s transit agencies “better navigate the long recovery process” as the nation looks to life beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the California Transit Association.
The Executive Director of the agency, Michael Pimental, noted that public transit was badly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, facing unprecedented budget deficits caused by depressed ridership, reduced sales tax and fare revenues, and the high cost of implementing health and safety measures designed to keep our workers and riders safe. As seen in Los Angeles, all of this caused transit agencies to slash service, delay capital improvements and furlough employees at the start of the pandemic.
“This funding is critical to a balanced and equitable economic recovery, to our quality of life and to achieving our state’s ambitious environmental goals,” he said.
The funding provided in the bill for transit remains unchanged from the version that was initially passed by the Senate. The $30.5 billion for transit includes:
The American Rescue Plan Act includes language that Amtrak must use at least $166 million of the funds provided to restore frequency on long-distance routes within 90 days of the bill’s enactment, as well as recall furloughed employees.
In Los Angeles, the Metro board of directors recently voted to spend millions of dollars to restore transit service that had been slashed throughout the pandemic. Because of it, the agency undertook different cost-saving measures, most notably cutting bus service by 20% in Sept. 2020, which riders spoke out against. As COVID spiked, Metro ridership reportedly declined from a high of 615,000 in Oct. to 475,000 in Dec., but it began rebounding in Jan.