U.S. President Donald J. Trump announced by Tweet that additional funds are being distributed to continue operations of public transportation in key locations in the US.
He announced four more payments on Monday — Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago — to add to the New York City and New Jersey-area transit Tweets that went out a few weeks ago.
In total, $7,167,000,000 was doled out to the seven urban areas. The general rationale was that, with everyone sheltering in place, no one taking the trains and subways, the federal government should bail out those systems.
But the generosity is also probably over the top, in that these giant, loss-making transport systems are heavily in debt and tottering on collapse, so the extended shutdown makes more economic sense than ever.
As for how these billions of dollars get paid back — the funds are being released to these states without any strings — ultimately falls on the federal tax payer who will have to be bailed out, too, though that plan still must be under wraps.
The funds are being disbursed under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act S.3548 that was introduced to Congress on March 19, 2020. The CARES act was signed into law on March 27, 2020.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) in Washington, DC will receive $876 million to remain open and operational.
New York’s Mass Transit Authority is slated to receive a total of $3.9 billion. $500 million of that is headed their way as an expedited payment. POTUS offered advice via twitter advising them to “Spend it wisely.”
I am proud to announce the first $500M of $3.9B in CARES Act transit funding headed to the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Important funding to keep transit systems clean and operating to get people back to work! Spend it wisely! @NYGovCuomo @NYCMayor
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2020
The New Jersey Transit system is receiving $1.4 billion, which is the largest Federal transit grant that New Jersey has ever received.
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is receiving $817 million to ensure continued operations in their area.
The San Francisco Bay area is receiving $700 million to support the San Francisco International Airport, including Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART) and San Francisco Mass Transit Authority (SFMTA) to aid in their economic recovery.
The Portland, Oregon Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TRIMET) system is receiving $184 million to keep their transportation system operational.
Seattle’s Sound Transit System is set to receive $166 million to keep the system open and operational while replacing lost revenue from the decrease in fares.