Maryland Congressional Delegation Requests $32 Billion More Relief Funding for U.S. Transit Systems
Maryland officials Maryland’s congressional delegation is asking for an additional $32 billion in coronavirus relief funding for U.S. public transit systems — and for a larger share to go to transit systems serving mid-sized cities, such as Baltimore, where people depend heavily on the regional buses and trains. Public transit is an essential government service, and additional aid “is necessary to sustain operations across the country,” U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and U.S. Reps. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Kweisi Mfume and John Sarbanes said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Friday. “This additional funding will help prevent cuts to service and potential layoffs of local government employees and ensure that essential workers can continue to get to their jobs,” the letter said. The $392 million in funding the Maryland Transit Administration received from the CARES Act is expected to run out in September. With revenues from taxes, fees and transit fares down significantly during the pandemic, the agency faced a $550 million shortfall at the end of the last fiscal year — and it expects another one just as large in the next year. A lack of additional funding could jeopardize the transit system that riders “have come to depend on as safe, reliable and equitable,” said Maryland Transit Administration Administrator Kevin Quinn…. The congressional delegation’s request for funding joined a chorus of calls from transit advocates, who say funding is critical for the future of the MTA and other public transit systems across the country.