Congress is actively working on a third package of COVID-19 response legislation and an emergency aid package could pass in the coming days. Public transportation organizations are taking extraordinary efforts to protect the health and safety of riders and employees while working tirelessly to maintain essential services. We want to ensure that the federal government includes emergency aid to public transportation agencies to help offset the additional costs and lost revenue related to COVID-19.
Today, APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas sent letters to President Trump and Congressional Leaders requesting $16.0 billion in direct emergency funding for public transit agencies to offset some of the extraordinary direct costs and revenue losses of responding to the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. To view the APTA press release, please click here. To view the APTA letter to Congressional Leaders, please click here.
We cannot impress upon you enough how quickly this package could move on Capitol Hill and we urge you to act today.
CALL TO ACTION
We strongly encourage you to contact your Members of Congress today and request $16 billion in emergency public transportation funding and share the impacts, such as fare and sales tax revenue losses, and increased costs due to labor and cleaning products, of COVID-19 on public transportation in your communities.
To contact your Members of Congress, please call 202.224.3121.
Based on the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) survey of 163 public transit agencies and other agency-specific information, we request $16.0 billion in direct emergency funding for public transit agencies to offset some of their extraordinary direct costs and revenue losses because of the impacts of COVID-19 in 2020. The affected agencies include small, medium, and large public transit agencies—with operating expenses of less than $10 million to greater than $100 million. The $16.0 billion request will offset the following estimated costs and revenue losses:
- Direct Costs: $1.75 billion. Based on the APTA survey, 98 percent of public transit agencies have significant increased direct costs because of COVID-19, such as increased cleaning of vehicles and facilities.
- Farebox Revenue Loss: $7.65 billion. We estimate a 75 percent farebox revenue loss over the March – September 2020 period and a 40 percent farebox revenue loss over the October – December 2020 period. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, farebox revenue totaled $16.09 billion.
- Dedicated Sales Tax Revenue Loss: $6.25 billion. We estimate a 75 percent dedicated sales tax revenue loss over the March – September 2020 period and a 40 percent sales tax revenue loss over the October – December 2020 period. In FY 2018, dedicated sales tax revenue for public transportation totaled $13.17 billion.
- Restart Costs: $350 million. We anticipate that public transit agencies will also face costs associated with restarting operations, including retraining workers.
This update from the original APTA request of $12.875 billion is based on an internal survey of 163 public transit agencies and revised estimates of some of our nation’s largest public transportation providers. For example, on March 17, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority requested $4.0 billion for the New York City public transit agencies alone. Other agencies also estimate significant direct costs and revenue losses.
We encourage all agencies to directly contact your Members of Congress today regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on public transportation in your communities.
We also encourage you to write specific letters to your Congressional delegation to outline the impacts. For instance, on March 17, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) sent a letter to its Congressional delegation outlining the impacts on its system. To view the DART letter, please click here.
Finally, we encourage you to share your letters and personal stories on social media.