Friends of SMART backs request for $39.3 billion in economic stimulus or relief legislation
EXCERPT FROM LETTER #1:
President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McCarthy and Leader McConnell:
Our coalition of transportation, labor, business, infrastructure, environmental and social justice leaders thank you for your strong support for transit agencies nationwide throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency funding provided to transit agencies by Congress last year has helped stave off the most severe service reductions and workforce layoffs, which would have devastated the communities that have continued to rely on transit service during today’s public health crisis.
We applaud your commitment to provide $30 billion in new operational funding to transit agencies nationwide. This funding level will address the operating needs faced by the industry into 2023. Moreover, as you finalize the next round of emergency relief, we urge you to continue to ensure that California receives its fair share of total funding so that transit agencies of all sizes throughout our state can benefit from the additional operational support. This funding is vital to transit agencies operating in rural, urban and suburban settings as they continue to grapple with steep declines in ridership and revenues due to the pandemic-induced economic downturn.
A viable public transit network is necessary to help support essential and frontline workers as well as communities disproportionately hurt by the pandemic, to protect strong and healthy communities, avoid the loss of thousands of good-paying local jobs, and to support a balanced economic recovery.