WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 15, 2020) – Six in 10 public transit systems will need to reduce service and furlough employees in the coming months without an additional $32 billion in emergency federal funding from Congress, according to new data released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). In addition, nearly one-half of public transit industry businesses (47 percent) expect to lay off employees, and nearly one-third of transit industry businesses (31 percent) are concerned that they may go out of business if additional federal funding is not provided.

APTA is urging Congressional leaders and the Administration to move swiftly and include at least $32 billion in emergency funding to keep systems running safely and to protect the jobs of more than 435,000 industry workers and several million private-sector jobs that support the industry every day.

 “Congress and the Administration are disregarding the essential lifeline that public transit plays in our communities. Our request for $32 billion is necessary to avoid catastrophic decisions that will only hurt our riders, our communities, and the nation” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “The industry continues to serve essential employees every day, but without additional emergency funding, many transit agencies will soon need to cut transit services and routes and furlough transit workers, leaving our communities without service and jobs when they need them most.”

“Public transportation is a lifeline for many during this challenging time. The pandemic put a spotlight on the importance of transit in keeping our society working, moving, responding, and connecting. It is also vital to our nation’s post-pandemic recovery and the rebuilding of a more resilient, fairer, more productive, and equitable future,” said Nuria I. Fernandez, APTA Chair, and General Manager and CEO of Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. “Without further emergency funding, we will not have a path forward that prevents layoffs and devastating service cuts that would cause many underserved communities to suffer disproportionate economic and social impacts.”

At a virtual press conference today, Skoutelas and Fernandez were joined by former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and public transit agency and business leaders to discuss the critical role public transportation plays in moving our communities and our country forward.

“Congress and the Administration must get serious and work in a bipartisan fashion to craft a COVID relief package that addresses the severe impact the pandemic has had on the transportation sector – especially with regard to transit. This is not about Republicans vs Democrats. This is about jobs for our friends and neighbors.”

  • The Honorable Ray LaHood, Co-Chair Building America’s Future and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation

“Here in Phoenix, we’re trying hard to understand whether the federal government will be with us for the long haul. Transportation powers America and our transit system is key to getting our local economies back where they need to be. We need Congress to get to work – now is the time for a bipartisan investment in our transit system.”

  • The Honorable Kate Gallego, Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona

The industry participants included: Paul J. Ballard, CEO and General Manager, Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD); Chris Boylan, Director, Governmental & Strategic Partnerships, The General Contractors Association of NY, Inc.; Ray Melleady, Executive Vice President, USSC Group; Steve Poftak, General Manager, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA); Kevin Quinn, Administrator, Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA); and Chris Stoddart, President, New Flyer.


The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations which represent a $74 billion industry that directly employs 435,000 people and supports millions of private sector jobs. APTA members are engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products.                      

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