How $30 Billion in Stimulus Funding Would Change the Equation for Transit Agencies

The funding in the draft stimulus funding package making its way through Congress falls short of the total requested by the American Public Transportation Association, but would go a long way to helping transit agencies weather the pandemic.

2 minute read

February 10, 2021, 12:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Government Center Station Miami

FrickFrack / Wikimedia Commons

An article by TransitCenter provides insight into the funding proposed for U.S. transit agencies by the economic stimulus plan making its way through Congress, promised by Democratic congressional leadership for approval before the end of the month.

With public transit agencies stuck in a death spiral of declining ridership and revenues during the pandemic, much of the attention of these repeated rounds of stimulus has concerned whether the federal government is providing enough support for public transit. (If approved, this will be the third federal stimulus package, after the CARES Act, approved by Congress in March 2020, and COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020, approved in December 2020.)

According to this article by TransitCenter, the $30 billion in funding proposed in the current version of the stimulus package would support transit agencies until some point between the middle of 2022 and the end of 2023. The Biden administration had previously proposed $20 billion for transit, which would last until the beginning of that spectrum. The American Public Transportation Association requested $39.3 billion, which TransitCenter estimates would last until the conclusion of that spectrum.

"In brief, the more emergency funding is secured now, the longer agencies will be able to maintain service before needing another round of relief. Because economic activity and transit ridership are not expected to fully rebound immediately following a mass vaccination campaign, the fiscal disruption for transit agencies is projected to last years," according to the article.

The article includes details on the methodology of the analysis and also provides more findings about the depth of transit revenue declines in 2020, and the projected declines in revenue for 2021.

The article also includes a call to action regarding TransitCenter's recent advocacy work for new funding to support transit operations, in addition to capital investment funding.

Thursday, February 4, 2021 in TransitCenter

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

View of Palos Verdes Drive along Pacific Ocean in Palos Verdes, California at sunset.

Erosion Threatens SoCal Road, Lloyd Wright Icon

The city of Palos Verdes is closing parts of a roadway to cyclists, citing safety concerns as the land underneath moves between 7 and 12 inches per week.

5 hours ago - Daily Breeze

Faded image of vacant storefront in rural area with American flag stars painteind on windows.

COVID Isn’t to Blame for the Retail Vacancy Crisis

A drop in demand for retail space began well before the seismic shifts of the pandemic.

7 hours ago - Slate

Heavy New York City traffic headed toward Holland Tunnel in Manhattan.

Judge Rules in Favor of MTA in Congestion Pricing Suit

Advocates of the program are calling on Gov. Hochul to reinstate the program in light of the decision.

June 23 - StreetsBlog NYC

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner Supervisor

Department of Housing and Community Development

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.