President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Biden:

On behalf of America’s public transportation industry, which directly employs more than 435,000 workers and supports millions of private-sector jobs, we greatly appreciate your support for COVID-19 emergency transit funding in the American Rescue Plan. We urge you to provide an additional $39.3 billion in COVID-19 emergency funding to help public transit agencies continue to provide a critical lifeline to essential workers and to help our communities begin to rebuild our economy. These funds will offset the extraordinary direct costs and revenue losses caused by the pandemic.

In 2020, Congress enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (P.L. 116-136) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) (P.L. 116-260). CARES Act and CRRSAA funding provided a critical lifeline to enable our agencies to serve first responders, hospital workers, and grocery store clerks each and every day. Yet, as you recognized with the American Rescue Plan, public transit agencies need additional funding to continue to provide these and other essential services throughout the crisis and play its indispensable role in America’s social and economic recovery from COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased public transit operating costs and slashed state and local sources of transit funding, including agency farebox and other revenues, state and local tax revenues, and state and local funding.

Based on the enclosed, independent economic analysis[1] of COVID-19 impacts on public transit funding needs, APTA estimates that public transit agencies face $39.3 billion of additional costs and revenue losses through calendar year 2023, in addition to the emergency public transit funding provided in 2020.

In providing these additional emergency funds, APTA urges Congress and the Administration to distribute these funds in a manner that ensures that all public transit agencies can continue to be a lifeline for our essential workers, reposition themselves to survive, and help our communities and nation recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

If Congress and the Administration do not provide significant additional COVID-19 emergency transit funding, many public transit agencies will be forced to cut service and lay off or furlough employees. According to a January 2021 APTA survey of public transit agencies, four in 10 agencies will have to consider additional service cuts to close their budget gaps.[2] Similarly, 22 percent of agencies will be forced to consider implementing additional layoffs.[3]

These funds are also critical to maintain the manufacturing and supply chain for public transportation agencies and limit the enormous economic damage to these businesses caused by the pandemic. According to a January 2021 APTA survey of public transit industry businesses, 76 percent of businesses have seen a reduction in their transit industry business as a result of COVID-19, and nearly four in 10 businesses (38 percent) will be forced to consider additional layoffs.[4] Moreover, one of every five businesses (22 percent) are concerned that they may go out of business due to the pandemic.[5]

Finally, APTA believes that providing the public transportation industry with long-term certainty is critical to our economic recovery and we urge you to enact the Surface Transportation Authorization Act prior to its expiration in September. Now is the time 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.

We greatly appreciate all of your efforts to help Americans through this national crisis. This emergency funding for public transportation is critically important as we work to restore these essential services in each of our communities.

Thank you for your consideration.


Paul P. Skoutelas

President and CEO

cc:       Secretary-designate Peter Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation

[1] EBP US, Inc., The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Public Transit Funding Needs in the U.S., January 27, 2021.

[2] American Public Transportation Association, COVID-19 Pandemic Threatens Public Transit Jobs and Service, January 2021, at https://www.apta.com/wp-content/uploads/APTA-Survey-Brief-Agency-Jan-2021.pdf.

[3] Id.

[4] American Public Transportation Association, COVID-19 Pandemic Threatens Public Transit Businesses, January 2021, at https://www.apta.com/wp-content/uploads/APTA-Survey-Brief-Business-Jan-2021.pdf.

[5] Id.

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