March 3, 2021

As our state and nation continue responding to the pandemic, public transit remains an essential service, responsible for transporting health care employees, emergency responders, and retail workers to jobs throughout the region. The RTA remains committed to keeping elected officials and stakeholders up to date about COVID-19 impacts on transit and the region’s response. Visit the RTA COVID Recovery web page for more information, and please encourage others to subscribe.

Federal and state transit funding developments

At the federal level, on February 27 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill with approximately $30.5 billion for transit agencies nationwide. Last week, Budget Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) offered an amendment with $461 million in additional transit funding directed mainly to the Capital Investment Grant program. The majority of the bill’s transit funding — approximately $26 billion — would be distributed through a formula to ensure that each urbanized area could secure 132% of its total annual operating costs by combining this round of proposed funding with the prior two rounds (CARES Act passed in March 2020 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act passed in December 2020).

The bill also contains an additional $1.425 billion in funding for specific New Starts and Core Capacity projects, including approximately $27 million for the CTA’s Red Purple Modernization work. It is believed that the bill will move through the Senate in the next couple of weeks.

Here in Illinois, the Pritzker administration’s fiscal year 2022 budget proposes a 10% cut to the RTA’s state sales tax matching funds, which would reduce state funding of transit operations by $35 million for the fiscal year. The previously passed state FY 2021 budget had already reduced transit operational funding by 5%. The other transit operational grants funded by the State of Illinois (including ADA Paratransit and reduced fare supplemental funding) remain unchanged in the Governor’s budget FY 2022 proposal relative to state FY 2021.

Still time to comment on COVID recovery methodology

Through Friday, March 5, the public can still comment on the RTA's methodology for sustaining critical transit services under Step 2 of our regional transit system's three-step COVID recovery strategy. These draft materials are:
  • Sustaining Critical Transit in 2021 draft report, which defines transit Critical Need Areas (CNAs) and a methodology for allocating federal COVID relief dollars.  
  • staff memo to the RTA Board, which describes envisioned funding impacts. 

Also, see an interactive RTA Story Map that offers insights into how CNAs are being identified. All public comments will be provided to the RTA Board, which will consider approval of the material in its next meeting at  9:00 a.m. on March 18, 2021. The public can view all RTA Board meetings via WebEx or YouTube. See the RTA Board Meetings web page for details. 

Send comments by email to or U.S. Mail to RTA Administrative Offices, 175 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 1650, Chicago, IL 60604. Requests for translated materials or other requests to enhance the accessibility of this content should also be sent to


COVID Transit Dashboard

The RTA COVID Transit Dashboard ( has been updated with the latest available data on sale tax revenue through November and farebox revenue through December 2020. Also see the new and improved RTAMS (, which has the raw data that drives our dashboard and many other RTA data tools.


Transportation webinar

In partnership with the Metropolitan Planning Council and the McHenry County Division of Transportation, the RTA will host a webinar about improving transportation access and equity at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9. Registration is free.
Thank you,

Leanne Redden
RTA Executive Director
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All rights reserved.

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Chicago IL 60604

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Regional Transportation Authority · 175 W Jackson Blvd Ste 1650 · Chicago, IL 60604-2817 · USA