June 24, 2020
Amid COVID-19 Crisis, Reps. Pressley, García, Takano & Future of Transportation Caucus Members Lead Call for Bold Federal Investment in Transit Agencies
WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), and Mark Takano (CA-41), founding Co-Chairs of the Future of Transportation Caucus, led more than 20 of their colleagues in calling on House leadership to provide for bold federal investments in public transit agencies across the country that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
“High-quality, safe and affordable public transit is a public good and will play a key role in protecting the public health and advancing our long-term economic recovery efforts,” wrote the lawmakers.
In their letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, the lawmakers called for:
- Investing $50 billion per year over the next five years, to support and sustain our nation’s public transit systems. These emergency funds would help our public transit agencies purchase more vehicles, PPE and sanitizing equipment, and hire more personnel in order to increase service, avoid dangerous overcrowding and mitigate COVID spread.
- Incentivizing transit agencies to make public transit more affordable through subsidizing fares for our most vulnerable and those disproportionately impacted by this crisis. Federally subsidized fares would allow agencies to continue supporting riders during these difficult financial times while still covering critical personnel and operating expenses, implement health and safety measures to mitigate the spread and prevent a second wave as states reopen.
“Many transit agencies have waived fare collection that has reduced the financial burden for riders and essential workers who rely on public transit to commute to work,”the lawmakers continued. “These funds would allow agencies to continue these much-needed practices to connect essential workers to their jobs, seniors to pharmacies, and our communities who are food insecure to grocery stores and food banks.”
In addition to Reps. Pressley, García, and Takano, the letter was also signed by Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Lori Trahan (D-MA), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Andy Levin (D-MI), Andre Carson (D-IN), Joseph P. Kennedy (D-MA), and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ).
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