State allocates additional $11M to struggling transit systems
Commonwealth Transportation Board funds are aimed at helping transit agencies recover from ridership losses and other COVID-19-related operating expenses.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) authorized an additional $11 million in statewide public transportation spending to help Virginia public transportation agencies recover from ridership losses and other COVID-19-related operating expenses, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) announced Tuesday.
“The onset and continued spread of COVID-19 has had extraordinary and disproportionate impacts on Virginia’s public transit industry and the communities they serve,” Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine said in a statement. “As more social distancing is implemented, we recognize that reduced service and significant ridership losses lead to diminished revenue and more challenges ahead.”
The $11 million that will be available by early April is equivalent to one month of statewide operating revenues currently allocated to the Commonwealth Mass Transit Fund.
Hampton Roads Transit received more than $2.35 million in funding, Fairfax County received more than $1.8 million, the Greater Richmond Transit Co. received $1.16 million and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission received $1.14 million — with all other agencies being allocated funds less than $1 million. Forty agencies in total will receive funding.
CTB did not have to cut any funding that was already obligated to transit agencies for the year, and was instead able to use $11 million from the DRPT’s Making Efficient + Responsible Investments in Transit (MERIT) management program.
“Transit agencies had to take immediate steps to minimize the risk to their employees, customers, and communities, far beyond anything envisioned in their operating budgets,” DRPT Director Jennifer Mitchell said in a statement. “Today’s action enables DRPT to respond quickly and equitably to help their agency needs.”