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February 10, 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. Please feel free to encourage others to subscribe.
 

Congress considers latest stimulus package

On February 8, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) released a COVID-19 emergency relief funding package which included $30 billion of funding for public transit nationwide. The transit proposal is part of a larger $1.9 trillion relief and stimulus package that President Biden and Democratic leaders are hoping to pass through Congress in upcoming weeks through the budget reconciliation process, which would allow the legislation to pass the Senate with a simple majority. The new proposed transit funding would be distributed primarily through a formula to urbanized areas across the country ensuring that each urbanized area was able to secure 132% of its total annual operating costs when combining the funding received under this proposal with the funding previously received under the CARES Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas issued a statement applauding the effort and thanking the Biden Administration and Congressional leaders. 

Regarding the administration's transportation priorities beyond the stimulus effort, a New York Times article described the prospects and challenges of prioritizing transit at the federal level.
 

CDC mandates masks on public transportation

On January 29, the Centers for Disease Control issued a nationwide order requiring that masks be worn by riders and operators of public transportation. Per related CDC guidance, masks must now "be worn by all travelers while on public transportation (which includes all passengers and all personnel operating conveyances)." 
 

RTA Board to meet on February 18

Materials for the RTA Board's February 18 meeting will be posted tomorrow on the agency website. The agenda will feature staff presentations providing new details about Step 2 in the regional COVID recovery strategy, including the draft process for allocating federal funds from the stimulus passed in late December 2020. That draft will be issued for public comment soon after the meeting. 
 

COVID Transit Dashboard

The RTA COVID Transit Dashboard (https://rtachicago.org/covid-dash) has been updated with ridership data through January 29, which shows region-wide ridership is 72 percent lower than in 2019. Also see the new and improved RTAMS (https://www.rtams.org/), which has the raw data that drives our dashboard and many other RTA data tools.


Thank you,

Leanne Redden
RTA Executive Director
ReddenL@RTAChicago.org
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All rights reserved.


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Chicago IL 60604






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