The CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority joined 27 other transit agency leaders Tuesday in calling on the federal government to provide $36 billion in nationwide support due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While our expenses are going up, our revenue is falling,” Metro CEO Phillip Washington said. “We appreciate the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act funding, but we need more in order to keep our county and the city of Los Angeles moving. We have our work cut out for us and we need help from Congress.”
A joint letter from the transportation agencies was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“Now, as our economy begins to recover, financial pressures brought on by the public health crisis continue to threaten our ability to provide service and keep our country working,” the letter stated. “We are requesting your help once again to include in the next COVID-19 relief bill $32-$36 billion in additional funding for the public transportation industry and the workers we serve to cover COVID-related costs and revenue losses through 2021.”
Los Angeles Metro officials are anticipating a shortfall of up to $1.8 billion over the next two fiscal years due to the pandemic.
They said they are grateful for the funding provided through the CARES Act, but as Congress considers a new COVID-19 aid package, it is clear that Metro and other transit agencies will need more federal funding to keep operating.
Metro officials also said they are working closely with the Los Angeles County congressional delegation to ensure that any new COVID-19 aid package provides the agency the resources it needs.
“Our country will not experience a full recovery if the transit systems that move our economy are not fully functional,” the transit leaders’ letter states. “We need federal support for public transportation in the next relief package to secure transit’s future and the nation’s economy.”
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