Kaine bill would protect transit funds for communities impacted by natural disasters

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine joined U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to introduce the Relief for Recovering Communities Act, a bill that protects funding for communities receiving federal transit funds if they face a temporary drop in population size due to a natural disaster. In Virginia, Blacksburg, Bristol, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Kingsport, Lynchburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Williamsburg, and Winchester received this type of funding in fiscal year 2017.

tim kaine“Given Virginia’s experience with storms, floods, and other severe weather, it’s wise for every state to prepare and plan ahead for the effects of natural disasters. This funding has made a real difference in communities across Virginia and our bill to protect it is commonsense, bipartisan, and costs nothing,”said Kaine.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) currently apportions federal transit funds to urbanized areas between 50,000 and 200,000 in population. In 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston, TX and caused a temporary population drop to under 50,000, resulting in a loss of transit funds even though the population later recovered. This bill, the Relief for Recovering Communities Act, would ensure that a community impacted by a federally-declared disaster would continue to receive its previous level of federal transit funds until the following decennial census. This year, localities across Virginia received more than $14 million in federal transit grants.

Virginia regions receiving urbanized area transit grants in FY17:

Blacksburg, VA                       $2,251,242

Bristol, TN–VA                       $408,906

Charlottesville, VA                  $2,170,329

Fredericksburg, VA                 $2,366,765

Harrisonburg, VA                    $1,611,988

Kingsport, TN–VA                  $48,274

Lynchburg, VA                         $2,263,136

Staunton-Waynesboro, VA      $758,139

Williamsburg, VA                    $1,516,041

Winchester, VA                       $1,003,106

Virginia TOTAL                     $14,397,926

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