WASHINGTON, DC: Yesterday evening, Senate Republicans released their proposal for the next round of COVID-19 relief funding. The proposal, called the HEALS Act, contains no emergency funding for public transportation operations or passenger rail. Transportation for America released the following statement in response.
“Stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have hit transit agencies very hard. At the same time, transit remains critical for essential workers to reach their jobs and will be central to restarting the economy if we want everyone who wants to work to be able to get there. But the Senate leaves transit out of the HEALS Act,” said Beth Osborne, director of Transportation for America. “Americans need reliable, convenient, and affordable transportation options now more than ever. Any final bill must reflect that transit needs at least $32 billion in order to survive this crisis.”
“The response to COVID-19 has slowed travel between cities by a huge amount. Interestingly, the Senate recognized in the HEALS Act the importance of keeping airports operating through the crisis, but not passenger rail,” said John Robert Smith, chairman of Transportation for America. “However, many in small town America still rely on intercity rail to get to hospitals and essential services. It is irresponsible to leave many people in small towns and rural areas disconnected from Amtrak and other passenger rail services at this precarious time.”
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