RTA Executive Director’s letter to Illinois Congressional Delegation on additional federal funding for transit

On July 30, 2020, I sent a letter to the Illinois Congressional delegation to reiterate that the RTA strongly supports including additional federal resources for public transportation in the next coronavirus legislative package. The full letter is below.

Dear Illinois Congressional Delegation:

On behalf of the Regional Transportation Authority of Northeastern Illinois (RTA), I would like to extend my gratitude to you for your quick response and continued work in ensuring crucial funding for transit operators within the Northeastern Illinois region and the rest of the U.S. during this difficult time. The federal funding allocated to our transit system through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has been critical in maintaining transit operations during this period of historic revenue loss.

And yet, our region and country are still facing an incredibly daunting situation. Therefore, while deeply grateful for CARES Act funding, the RTA strongly supports including additional federal resources for public transportation in the next coronavirus legislative package. We recognize that complex legislative discussions will happen in the next two weeks, but it was disappointing to see that no new funding for public transportation is included in the recently released Senate Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEALS) Act.

The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act that the House of Representatives passed several weeks ago included $15.75 billion in public transportation funding. That is certainly better than HEALS’ grave omission of transit support, but it would fall short of the $32 billion for transit referenced in the July 14 letter from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) to Congressional leaders, which we strongly support. That request reflects the essential role that transit must play in America’s economic recovery.

The RTA knows that Congress has a difficult task ahead in deciding on how to balance federal resource allocation with needs. Thank you again for your continued dedication and service in promoting policies that are crucial to the improvement of our community’s public transit infrastructure. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Leanne P. Redden
Executive Director

A PDF of this letter is available here.