The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), enacted in December 2020, marks the second round of emergency public transit funding following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It provided $14 billion for transit agencies in 2021, following the infusion of $25 billion provided by Congress in March 2020 through the CARES Act.
The analysis summarized in this document found that, even with the two rounds of emergency funding, public transit agencies still face a projected shortfall of $39.3 billion through the end of calendar year (CY) 2023. While the two rounds of funding provided transit agencies across the nation with needed relief, gaps in transit funding continue to grow due to ongoing losses of ridership, fare revenue, and tax revenue. Nationally, transit ridership in 2020 dropped by 79% compared to 2019 levels at the start of the pandemic. While some riders have returned to public transit, ridership from June through December 2020 remained about 65% below pre-pandemic levels. In addition, transit providers are coping with higher costs related to training, personal protective equipment (PPE), personnel absences, and growing labor costs.