Today (February 8), the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) released its Budget Reconciliation Title providing $30 billion of COVID-19 emergency funding for public transit. The Title also provides $1.5 billion of emergency funding for Amtrak.
APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas issued a statement applauding the Budget Reconciliation Title and thanking the Biden Administration and Congressional Leaders for their incredible efforts to help public transit agencies continue to provide a critical lifeline to essential workers and to help communities begin to rebuild our economy.
On Wednesday, February 10, at 11:00 a.m. EST, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will mark up the Budget Reconciliation Title. APTA staff is concerned that some Members of the T&I Committee may offer amendments to cut the emergency funding for public transit or transfer it to other purposes. This funding is vital to the transit industry’s survival and public transit agencies’ ability to continue to provide essential services. APTA urges the Committee to pass the Budget Reconciliation Title without change—and provide $30 billion of emergency funding for public transit.
CALL TO ACTION
We strongly encourage you to contact Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure today and urge the Committee to pass the Budget Reconciliation Title, which provides $30 billion of emergency funding for public transit.
Please click here to view the House T&I Committee Roster.
Please click here to view APTA’s Talking Points.
House T&I Committee Budget Reconciliation Title
The House T&I Committee’s Budget Reconciliation Title provides $30 billion of emergency public transit funding and $1.5 billion of emergency Amtrak funding.
A primary objective of the $30 billion of emergency transit funding is to ensure that public transit agencies receive sufficient funding under this bill, when combined with their prior COVID-19 transit allocations pursuant to the CARES Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), to equal 132 percent of urbanized areas’ public transit operating costs.
The transit funds provided under the bill are available for operating expenses related to the response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Except for the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) funds, the funds provided under the Budget Reconciliation Title shall be directed to payroll and operations of public transportation (including payroll and expenses of private providers of public transportation) unless the recipient certifies to the Secretary that the recipient has not furloughed any employees. The federal share is 100 percent.
The Budget Reconciliation Title distributes the overwhelming majority of the emergency transit funds through several formula programs:
The Budget Reconciliation Title also provides $2.21 billion for grants to eligible recipients or subrecipients that, as a result of COVID-19, require additional assistance to maintain operations. The Secretary shall evaluate grant requests based on the level of financial need demonstrated. The demonstrated need includes future financial need to maintain service as a percentage of 2018 operating costs that has not been replaced by the funds made available by the other grants of the Title or prior COVID-19 legislation.
In addition, the Budget Reconciliation Title provides $1.25 billion for Capital Investment Grants. The Title provides $1 billion to CIG project sponsors that have an existing Full Funding Grant Agreement (New Starts or Core Capacity projects) or are currently in the Expedited Project Delivery Pilot Program and received a FY 2019 or FY 2020 CIG allocation. It distributes the funds proportionally to qualified project sponsors and will not be counted toward the maximum federal financial assistance. Projects with grant agreements that are open for revenue service are not eligible. Please click here for APTA’s List of CIG Projects Eligible for Funding under the Budget Reconciliation Title.
In addition, the Title provides $250 million for Small Start projects that are a recipient of a CIG allocation or an applicant in the project development phase.
Finally, the Title provides $100 million for grants to bus operators that partner with recipients or subrecipients under 49 U.S.C. § 5311(f), and $25 million for planning grants under 49 U.S.C. § 5307 regarding planning to restore service.
The bill provides several additional conditions for the transit funding:
The bill provides $1.5 billion for Amtrak grants to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19, including:
The bill sets aside $285 million to be available to Amtrak in lieu of commuter rail and State-supported route payments. In addition, the bill sets aside $166 million for Amtrak to restore service on long-distance routes and to recall and manage furloughed employees.
Please click here to view the Budget Reconciliation Title (Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute).