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Release: Senate deal provides vital $25 billion lifeline to ensure essential public transportation service can continue

WASHINGTON, DC — After news of the Senate’s tentative agreement on a $2 trillion stabilization package that included $25 billion in emergency operating assistance for transit, Beth Osborne, director of Transportation for America, released this statement:

“Public transit provides essential service for millions of Americans each day. When this deal is finalized, Congress will have provided a major lifeline for this vital public service to weather the most immediate impacts of a massive loss of ridership. After starting with zero dollars for transit in initial negotiations, we especially praise Senate leadership for negotiating the deal to ensure that transit can continue moving millions of essential workers during this crisis. Workers classified as essential during the COVID-19 emergency account for 36 percent of total transit commuters in the United States, according to research released just this week by TransitCenter. We applaud the White House, Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, and Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy for their work to reach this agreement. 

“Thanks to this deal, essential transit service has a better chance to survive until this unprecedented public health crisis subsides and we will need to depend on transit service to move millions of people and get the economy moving once again. 

“Transit riders, advocates, business leaders, elected leaders and the other thousands of people who wrote or called their Senators sent a clear message to Congress: transit is essential.

“Transit agencies will still face massive deficits and more will need to be done. Impacts from COVID-19 will cost U.S. transit agencies $26-$38 billion annually, according to other research also published by TransitCenter, depending on how long the crisis continues and the extent of the measures the nation undertakes to try and avoid the worst potential impacts.

“We are grateful to Congress for prioritizing the millions of people who rely on transit every day with this deal. And we are eager to continue bringing their voices to Congress as they consider further action to stabilize the economy and build a foundation for a long-term recovery.”