FTA Issues Plan to Divvy Up COVID-19 Relief Funds

On April 2, the Federal Transit Administration released an allocation plan for divvying up a total of $25 billion in Federal funding to help the nation’s public transportation systems deal with the impact of COVID-19; money included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act passed on March 27.

[Above photo by CTtransit.]

FTA is allocating all $25 billion to recipients of urbanized area and rural area formula funds, with $22.7 billion allocated to large and small urban areas and $2.2 billion allocated to rural areas. Funding will be provided at a 100 percent federal share, with no local match required, and will be available to support capital, operating, and other expenses generally eligible under those programs to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.

Collage by the Maryland Transit Administration

Further, operating expenses incurred from January 20 on for all rural and urban recipients – even those in large urban areas – are also eligible to receive CARES Act relief money, including for transit operating expenses as well as paying for administrative leave for transit personnel due to reduced operations during an emergency.

“We know that many of our nation’s public transportation systems are facing extraordinary challenges and these funds will go a long way to assisting our transit industry partners in battling COVID-19,” said K. Jane Williams, FTA’s acting administrator, in a statement.

“These Federal funds will support operating assistance to transit agencies, including those in large urban areas as well as pay transit workers across the country not working because of the public health emergency,” she added.

Collage by CTtransit

FTA also expanded federal assistance eligibility via its Emergency Relief Program ton March 13 to help transit agencies respond to COVID-19 in states where the Governor has declared an emergency.

All transit providers, including those in large urban areas, can now use federal formula funds under the Urbanized Area Formula Program and Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program for emergency-related capital and operating expenses – including the cost of personal protective equipment or special-purpose trips.

The agency also recently announced that it would provide a 30-day extension of the deadline for four current competitive grant program funding opportunities as well.

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