Bi-State Development has been awarded a $142.4 million grant by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This funding will support the safe operation of MetroBus, MetroLink light rail and Metro Call-A-Ride paratransit services in the bi-state area during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We would like to thank the Federal Transit Administration for recognizing the critical importance of public transit to the St. Louis region during this time,” said Taulby Roach, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bi-State Development. “Now more than ever, our region needs public transportation options to connect with work, medical care, groceries and other essential destinations. This funding will help support Metro Transit operations, and will also ensure we can continue to provide our transit operators and front-line staff with the tools and resources they need to keep themselves and our riders safe. Our operators are our heroes, out there on the front line every day, 21 hours a day, keeping the region moving.”
In addition to supporting operational costs, the funds from the CARES Act grant will also be used by Metro Transit to continue enhanced cleaning protocols on transit vehicles and at facilities, obtain cleaning supplies, masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment, and continue other measures needed to support the health and safety of transit riders and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Metro Transit ridership currently down by more than 50 percent and local sales tax revenues that support public transit anticipated to be 20 percent lower over the new fiscal year beginning on July 1, Roach said the federal CARES Act grant will help make up for the combination of the fare revenue shortage and lost sales tax revenue. Bi-State Development has adjusted the fiscal year 2021 budget to hold the line with the goal of completing the fiscal year with a balanced budget based on the 20 percent reduction of local sales taxes. “Of course, no one knows what the future holds, but that is our best budget projection right now,” Roach said.
Information on the FTA’s apportionments and allocations of CARES Act funding can be found at transit.dot.gov/cares-act-apportionments.