CTB allocates CARES Act funding to public transit agencies across Virginia
The stimulus funds will enable local governments, small urban, and rural transit agencies throughout the Commonwealth to offset the substantial revenue losses, as well as sustain essential mobility functions related to the prevention, preparation, and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our public transit agencies are the backbone of our economy and ensure critical movement of goods and people in all of our communities,” stated Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This relief helps Virginia’s transit systems continue essential services and operations, and also offset the substantial costs of driver salaries, sanitization supplies, and protective equipment purchased to combat the Coronavirus and its aftermath.”
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes $25 billion in federal transit assistance. The Commonwealth of Virginia was apportioned $456 million as follows:
- $356.6 million distributed directly to urban public transit agencies.
- $47.2 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia for discretionary allocation to small urban transit agencies.
- $52.5 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia for discretionary allocation to rural transit agencies, the Virginia Breeze intercity bus service, and the Appalachian Development Public Transportation Program.
The CTB amended DRPT’s FY 2020-2025 Six Year Improvement Program (SYIP) to reflect the nearly $100 million in discretionary funding as follows:
- 100% of small urban transit agency funding according to the existing formula utilized by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Small urban agencies can apply directly to the FTA for their share of funding (CARES Act Section 5307 Apportionment Split Letter).
- 50% of rural transit agency funding according to the FY2020 allocation formula for FTA rural operating funding. (CARES Act Section 5311 Initial Distribution)
- 15% of rural transit agency funding to the Virginia Breeze intercity bus program.
- 35% of remaining rural transit agency and Appalachian Development Public Transportation Program funding to be held in reserve to address critical transit agency needs and administrative support for management of the CARES Act program.
The federal CARES Act funding does not require a state or local match, and is nearly three times the amount of federal transit funding appropriated to Virginia transit agencies in FY 2020. All operating and capital uses are eligible, retroactive to January 20, 2020, and include purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning equipment, and payment of administrative leave for employees.
CARES Act funding comes in addition to the $11 million in emergency statewide operating funding approved by the CTB last month, which has also allowed many Virginia public transit agencies to offset revenue and ridership losses and provide essential trips fare free.
“The CARES Act will offer much needed relief to our transit agencies that continue to endure ridership and revenue losses,” stated Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Jennifer Mitchell. “The funding will have a profound impact on the public transportation industry and its ability to recover from the pandemic.”