While we adjust to the dramatic changes to daily life amidst the spread of COVID-19, one thing is unchanged — public transit access remains essential. Local transit agencies, as well as those across the state and nationwide, are working tirelessly to provide as much service as possible during this pandemic, while also focusing on keeping operators and passengers safe. Enhanced safety precautions are paramount as drivers work to get essential personnel like healthcare workers and first responders to their jobs and ensure everyday citizens can gain access to food, medicine, and other necessities.
This is being accomplished while facing the harsh realities associated with dropping farebox recovery, increased expenses from new cleaning protocols, and significant driver absenteeism. Transit agencies have the backs of local communities — and right now they need support.
It is imperative Missourians reach out to their congressional delegation to underscore the importance of public transit funding being part of the national relief package. The Senate COVID-19 Relief Bill currently includes $20 billion for public transit with $4 billion of that for rural transit, and we must ensure this funding remains intact.
The days and weeks ahead will be defined by more change and new challenges. The transit service that is essential now will be even more so when Missourians get back to the business of building safe, sustainable, and economically viable communities.
Please contact Congress by email or through social channels today to express your support for keeping transit funding part of the finalized national relief package.
Kimberly Cella is the executive director of both Citizens for Modern Transit and the Missouri Public Transit Association.